In addition to providing coordination across the Offices of Child Care and Head Start, we manage early childhood development efforts with other offices within the Department of Health and Human Services. We also work with other federal agencies, state and tribal councils and administrators, and a wide range of national organizations and non-profit partners. These interagency, collaborative programs and communications help ensure a complete and integrated approach to improving the nation’s childhood learning and development.
Joint Interdepartmental Review of All Early Learning Programs for Children Less Than 6 Years of Age
Congress requested that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Secretary of Education, review the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue (GAO-12-342SP). See the report to Congress that outlines efficiencies that can be achieved, including recommendations for streamlining early learning programs serving children under age six.
Early Childhood Data
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) announced the release of a report that will help states refine their capacity to use existing administrative data from early childhood programs to improve services for young children and families.
Technology with Young Children
The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education released a policy brief on early learning and the use of technology to help families and early educators use technology to promote active, engaged, meaningful and socially interactive learning.
Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System
Operating on national and regional levels, the federal early childhood training and technical assistance (T/TA) system supports high quality services for children and families served in early care and education settings, such as Early Head Start, Head Start and child care programs. The coordinated system targets services for children birth to age 5, and their families, with supports for expectant families and school-age children and promotes the provision of comprehensive services and school readiness with strategies that are age, developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate. In addition, the system provides evidenced-based, practical resources and approaches that build capacity and create sustainable early childhood practices at the regional, state, and local levels. It scaffolds timely and relevant guidance, training, materials and professional development activities to account for different stakeholder needs and levels of readiness.
Early Childhood-Child Welfare Partnerships
Early Childhood-Child Welfare (ECCW) partnerships envision increased collaboration among child welfare and early childhood systems to support and amplify positive outcomes for children prenatal to eight and their families.
Families are children’s first, longest lasting, and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Families’ engagement in children’s learning at home and in early care and education programs can impact lifelong health, developmental and academic outcomes. This includes social-emotional and behavioral development; preparing children for school; seamlessly transitioning them to kindergarten; and supporting academic achievement in elementary school and beyond.
Despite the importance of high quality settings to healthy child development and school readiness, many early learning employees earn low wages -- even when they obtain credentials and attain higher levels of education. Low wages and lack of wage parity across early learning settings undermines the quality of early learning programs.
Increasing Early Care and Education (ECE) Services for Homeless Children
Whether you are in a Head Start or early childhood program, or work at the state level on early childhood systems and services, providing ECE services to homeless children is especially urgent when considering the vulnerability of young children experiencing homelessness. ACF offers resources to assist you in ensuring that these young children are prioritized for services that support their learning and development.
Look Before You Lock
The Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD) partners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a national campaign to prevent child heatstroke death, injury and trauma after being left unsupervised in cars, vans or school buses. The campaign reminds bus drivers and monitors, teachers, parents and caregivers to acknowledge it can happen to them and ask themselves, “Look before you lock.”
Moving Toward More Effective Monitoring Strategies Across ECE Settings
Promoting the safety and healthy development of children in early care and education settings is the overarching goal of monitoring. However, today’s monitoring policies are often disconnected efforts based on the individual funding streams or program type that can lead to duplication and conflict. The various funding streams, including the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), CACFP, and Head Start have different legislative requirements, but all have the same overarching goals – to ensure that our nation’s most disadvantaged children have access to what they need to promote their optimal development.
Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI)
The Tribal Early Learning Initiative facilitates the collaboration of existing tribal early childhood programs in an effort to better meet the needs of tribal communities, children, and families; create and support seamless quality early childhood systems across programs serving young children and families; and raise the quality of services to American Indian and Alaska Native children and families across the prenatal to age 5 continuum.
Examining and Supporting Credentialing in the Early Care and Education Field
Between 2012 and 2022 there is a projected 30 percent increase in job openings for early educators (USDOL, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). That means 184,100 job openings for qualified child care teachers and 76,400 for preschool teachers. But who will fill these critical roles?