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Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants

Contracts for Services to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits,
and Agencies for Comprehensive Early Childcare Services

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Administration for Children and Families (ACF) - Office of Head Start (OHS)

Deadline Date:

11/30/18 4:30 PM ET - Paper applications; 11:59 PM ET - Electronic applications


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Contracts for services to USA nonprofits, organizations, and businesses for programs to prepare children from birth to age five for school. Funding is intended for programs to give disadvantaged children a strong early education so that they arrive in kindergarten on par with their peers.

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

New or existing Head Start, EHS, and EHS-CC Partnership grantees can apply to use funding to partner with local child care providers to provide comprehensive, high-quality services to eligible infants and toddlers through EHS-CC Partnerships. These EHS-CC Partnerships will enhance and support early learning settings to provide full-day, full-year, comprehensive services that meet the needs of low-income working families; enhance access to high-quality, full-time child care; support the development of infants and toddlers through strong relationship-based experiences; and prepare them for the transition into preschool. These EHSCC Partnerships play an important role in the system by both expanding high-quality early learning services to infants and toddlers, and applying resources and lessons learned from EHS to build the capacity of the child care system.

Through EHS-CC Partnerships, new or existing grantees will partner with local child care centers and/or family child care programs and will leverage current investments through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) or other sources to improve the quality of infant-toddler child care. All infants and toddlers in an EHS-CC Partnership site will benefit from facilities and homes that meet licensing and EHS facility safety requirements. Other children in classrooms with EHS-CC Partnership enrolled children will benefit from low teacher-child ratios and class sizes, higher qualifications of their teachers including ongoing supervision and coaching, curriculum, and parent engagement activities. While only enrolled EHS-CC Partnership children will be eligible for direct family-specific benefits such as home visits, health tracking and promotion, and family partnership agreements through this funding, programs must operationalize services to ensure there is no segregation or stigmatization of EHS-CC Partnership children or families due to the additional requirements or services.

Non-Partnership Early Head Start Expansion

New or existing Head Start, EHS, and EHS-CC Partnership grantees can apply to establish or add new traditional EHS slots through Non-Partnership EHS Expansion. Non-Partnership EHS Expansion grantees will also provide early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services that will enhance the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of participating children; support parents' efforts to fulfill their parental roles; and help parents move toward self-sufficiency. Given the need for continuity of care for very young age children, the Office of Head Start (OHS) expects that applicants will propose a full-day, full-year model with sufficient hours to meet the child care needs of families, and not less than 1,380 hours per year. Applicants should prioritize providing services to the most vulnerable families with the greatest need due to special challenges, such as extreme poverty, homelessness, involvement with the child welfare system, or substance misuse issues.

Combination Approach

New or existing grantees can apply to both expand the number of EHS slots and implement the EHS-CC Partnership model designed to bring EHS services to infants and toddlers in child care and family child care settings.

General Information for All Applicants

Regardless of the model the applicant selects, only high-quality applications will be funded. Grants will be awarded based on how effectively the model design fits the needs of the community to be served and the overall quality of the proposed program, dependent upon available funding. Funds awarded through this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) must not supplant existing subsidies or other funding.

Through this FOA, applicants have the choice of applying in one of three ways: 1) EHS-CC Partnerships, 2) Non-Partnership EHS Expansion, or 3) a mix of both EHS-CC Partnerships and Non-Partnership EHS Expansion. However, applicant entities may submit only one application per service area, regardless of how they choose to apply. ACF will review only one application for a service area from any applicant. For more information, please see Section IV.2. Content and Form of Application Submission.

Having high-quality infant and toddler care is particularly important, and often is lacking, in economically-distressed communities. Therefore, ACF reserves the right to prioritize funding for qualified applicants who propose services in census tracts designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Overview of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)

CCDF is the primary federal program devoted to providing families with child care subsidies and supporting states, territories, and tribes in improving the quality of child care programs. CCDF is administered by ACF's Office of Child Care (OCC), which provides funding, oversight, and technical assistance to states, territories, and tribes that administer the program. CCDF provides child care assistance to 1.4 million children monthly, approximately 400,000 of whom are infants and toddlers. Annual federal CCDF funding is approximately $8.1 billion. State funding and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) transfers provide additional funding. In 2014, the program was reauthorized on a bi-partisan basis, and this reauthorization includes a number of important reforms to the program. For example, the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) phases in an increase in the minimum amount of funds that must be used to improve the quality of child care and other additional services to parents, such as resources and referral counseling regarding the selection of child care providers, from 4 percent to 9 percent over a 5-year period. In addition, the law requires states to spend a minimum of 3 percent to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers.

CCDF grantees (i.e., states, territories, and tribes) have flexibility in many areas that can help support partnerships. For example, within certain federal parameters, CCDF grantees set income eligibility rules that can be aligned with EHS (the CCDF threshold must be below 85 percent of state median income) and set policy on how often to re-determine a family’s subsidy eligibility (the frequency can be no less than 12 months). Most families who receive child care assistance through CCDF are required to pay a co-payment, which CCDF grantees can waive for families below poverty, such as families eligible for EHS. While the majority of CCDF services are funded through certificates/vouchers linked to individual eligible children, CCDF grantees also have the option of awarding grants and contracts to provide a stable source of funding for child care programs. Regardless of the funding mechanism (whether vouchers, grants, or contracts),
child care subsidies used in combination with the EHS-CC Partnership funding provided under this FOA will allow the EHS-CC Partnership grantees to improve the quality of environments and services for a greater number of low-income children.

Child care is provided through a broad array of public, private, for-profit, and not-for-profit programs and providers. In the United States, there are approximately 110,000 licensed child care centers and approximately 155,000 licensed family and group child care homes.

Family child care is an important part of the child care system, especially for infants and toddlers who are more likely to be cared for in home-based settings compared to older children. In addition, family child care is an important child care option for children whose parents work non-standard work hours or schedules, and it is particularly important in many rural areas where there are few child care centers

The Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) are the foundation on which programs design and deliver comprehensive, high-quality, individualized services to support the school readiness of children from low-income families. The standards set forth the requirements local grantees must meet to support the cognitive, social, emotional, and healthy development of children from birth to age 5. They encompass requirements to provide education, health, mental health, nutrition, and family and community engagement services, as well as rules for local program governance and aspects of federal administration of the program.

All grantees funded through this FOA must provide high-quality, comprehensive services. HHS has a goal of ensuring that funding available under this announcement supports robust competition for both Non-Partnership EHS Expansion and EHS-CC Partnership models.

Based on the strategic plan and community assessment, applicants will propose an approach that responds to the needs of families in the community, including the need for increased access to full-time, stable, high-quality, comprehensive child development services for working families. Having high-quality infant and toddler care is particularly important, and often is lacking, in areas with high concentrations of poverty.

All applicants should consider the birth-to-five continuum of care and education in developing their proposals. Grantees are expected to leverage resources from existing community agencies that provide early learning services – including early intervention, home visiting, and preschool programs – that will support children from birth through kindergarten entry.

Applicants must consider how they will ensure smooth and seamless transitions for children and families, particularly as infant’s transition into center-based or family child care services, and as toddler’s transition to preschool services. Grantees are required to plan for transitions for children out of EHS, including assisting families with preschool options for children after their program ends through agreements with publicly funded Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and child care programs.

The following list provides a brief summary of the EHS services to be provided to the children and families through this grant:

- Eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, and attendance, ensuring the most vulnerable children are served;

- Comprehensive early childhood education and development services that promote the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development of young children and families during the early years through: EHS group sizes and teacher/caregiver to child ratios; qualified and trained staff to ensure warm and continuous relationships between caregivers, children, and families that are crucial to learning and development for infants and toddlers; parent involvement in their children’s learning and development; provision of learning opportunities for infants and toddlers to grow and develop in warm, nurturing, and inclusive environments; culturally and linguistically responsive services that support continuity of care between the home environment of the child and the program; health and safety of enrolled children; health promotion by providing comprehensive health, mental health, and oral health services for children, and helping families to identify and access a medical home to ensure ongoing care; nutrition, including participation in the Child and Adult Food Care Program and arrangements for nursing mothers who choose to breast feed in center-based programs and family child care homes; inclusion of at-risk children with disabilities by ensuring services meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families, including the establishment and implementation of procedures to identify such children and plans to coordinate with programs providing services; children with documented behavioral problems receive appropriate screening and referral; an inclusive, supportive environment where children with disabilities can be served in the same settings as typically developing children; and that 10 percent of the children enrolled have a disability, unless granted a waiver by OHS.

- Family partnerships providing services to parents that: support their role as parents; promote positive parent-child interactions, including the participation of fathers; and enable families to move toward self-sufficiency.

- Community partnerships by ensuring formal linkages and coordination with community agencies located in the area or state that provide services within the Birth-to-Five Continuum of care and education, to ensure that children receive continuous, coordinated services from birth to school entry. Coordination should include such providers as early intervention services; other agencies providing services to infants and toddlers, including the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program and other home visiting programs, local Head Start programs; state pre-kindergarten; and other local providers of early childhood education.

- Administrative and financial management, including: ensuring a well-functioning governing body to share responsibility for oversight of the delivery of high-quality services; ensuring financial management systems are in place that meet legal requirements; ensuring family involvement in the program through opportunities such as participation in the policy council or committees at the grantee level; ensuring that the level of services provided to families responds to their specific needs and circumstances; recruiting, training, and supervising high-quality staff; providing professional development plans for each staff member to ensure that each staff person attains and maintains qualifications for his/her position and meets all Head Start requirements for staff working with infants and toddlers; implementing a systematic procedure for transitioning children, such as: ensuring continuity of services and smooth transitions when the needs of families change, to ensure that children served through the EHS-CC Partnership receive ongoing services through fluctuations of family status; supporting transition planning with families to ensure each pregnant woman and child experiences smooth transitions into EHS and child care services; and from EHS and child care services to Head Start or other preschool programs. Implementing appropriate financial management systems so that expenditures
are attributable to specific activities under the grant award.

- Transportation by working with families to address their transportation needs and helping them find transportation.

- Facilities – grantees must ensure centers and family child care homes meet health and safety requirements, and meet licensing requirements for infants and toddlers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173703

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Award Ceiling: $8,000,000 Per Budget Period
Award Floor: $750,000 Per Budget Period

Term of Contract:

Anticipated Project Start Date: March 15, 2019

The project period will be up to 60 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are any public or private nonprofit agencies, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies.

Eligibility is limited to public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations or for-profit organizations that can provide EHS services to children and families.

Eligible entities include: (1) entities operating Head Start, (2) entities operating Indian Head Start or MSHS programs, and (3) other public entities and nonprofit or for-profit private entities, including community-based and faith-based organizations, capable of providing child and family services that meet the standard for participation in programs under the Head Start Act.

Please note, “(1) entities operating Head Start programs” includes entities operating Head Start, EHS, and/or EHS-CC Partnership programs.

Applications from individuals (including sole proprietorships) and foreign entities are not eligible and will be disqualified from competitive review and from funding under this announcement.

Faith-based and community organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Due Date: November 30, 2018 by 11:59 PM ET (online submission)

Applicants may request an exemption from required electronic application submission. If such exemption is granted, the deadline for receipt of paper applications is November 30, 2018 by 4:30 PM ET.

The registration process at can take up to four weeks to complete. Therefore, registration should be done in sufficient time to ensure it does not impact your ability to meet required application submission deadlines.

All entities applying for funding, including renewal funding, must have a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Applicants must enter the DUNS number in the data entry field labeled "Organizational DUNS" on the SF-424 form.

In addition to having a DUNS number, organizations applying online through must register with SAM in order to apply online. Failure to register with SAM will prevent your organization from applying through

Plan ahead. Please allow at least 10 business days after you submit your registration for it to become active in SAM and at least an additional 24 hours before that registration information is available in other government systems, i.e.,

Grantees must provide at least 20 percent of the total approved cost of the project.

For more information about federally designated Qualified Opportunity Zones, please visit:

View the opportunity on

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and Apply at

Address to Request Application Package:

Office of Head Start
OHS Operations Center
1401 Mercantile Lane
Suite 401
Largo, MD 20774

Phone: (888) 242-0684

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)