At ACF, we work to ensure that all children – especially children who experience poverty and other challenging circumstances – have early childhood experiences that build the foundation for their success in school and in life. We administer Head Start, child care, home visiting, and other programs designed to help children reach their full potential. No matter which of our programs children enroll in, we strive to ensure that parents, program leaders, early childhood educators, and other community members have the supports they need to foster growth in children.
One of our key priorities is to strengthen coordination between Head Start, child care, and other early childhood services, recognizing that families have common needs at that programs often face similar issues and challenges.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are launching a new cross-sector Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System. Our new Early Childhood T/TA system brings together funding, knowledge, and skills from the Office of Child Care, the Office of Head Start and our health partners in HHS – the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
We are awarding grants for six new national centers to build the capacity for excellence in early childhood services regardless of setting or funding stream. Training and technical assistance will be available to everyone who works in child care and Head Start, from state child care agency staff to Head Start program directors to providers caring for children in their homes. The national centers are:
- National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (funded by OHS and OCC).
- National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (funded by OHS, OCC, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB))
- National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (funded by OCC, OHS, and MCHB)
- National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (funded by OHS and OCC)
- National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (funded by OCC)
- National Center on Program Management, Fiscal, and Operations (funded by OHS)
The work of the National Centers will reach our grantees through enhanced networks of early childhood specialists that can work directly with States, Tribes, and Early Head Start and Head Start programs. We’ve improved our existing networks by adding dedicated health specialists in Head Start and new infant and toddler specialists to help state child care agencies reach their youngest children.
The National Centers will work together to ensure a consistently high level of practice in areas that cut across all centers, such as culturally and linguistically responsive services; data use and continuous improvement; and supports for children with disabilities and their families. To support social, emotional, and behavioral health, the new National Centers will also partner with SAMHSA and HRSA on the National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.
This is an exciting time for early childhood as we bring together the expertise and skills of the field in the new Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System. For more information, please visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/interagency-projects/ece-technical-assistance.
I want to acknowledge the tremendous work of our Early Childhood Team in developing this new training and technical assistance structure. At ACF, we are committed to ensuring that the programs for which we have responsibility work together in a coordinated way to advance our shared goals. The implementation of this new effort takes an important step in doing so.
Acting Assistant Secretary
Administration for Children and Families
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Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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