***The following questions and answers are in relation to the 2014 FOA and grants.
The appropriations bill that allocated money for EHS-CC partnerships makes it clear that the partnerships are not eligible for DRS during their first 18 months; the Office of Head Start has also communicated that unlike with EHS and HS grants, if a partnership grant hits one of the triggers and has to compete it will NOT cause the other grants to go into competition as well.
(For those less familiar with Head Start, the Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 required that "low-performing" programs be required to compete to keep their funding. Since 2011, this has been implemented through what's called the "Designation Renewal System" or "DRS." The DRS has seven triggers that can force programs to compete, including violations of the Head Start Program Performance Standards, loss of a license or CACFP grant, low scores on the CLASS assessment for preschool Head Start settings, and others.)
The Head Start Act requires that Early Head Start teachers have an Infant/Toddler CDA or higher degree. For family child care settings, the 0-5 Family Child Care CDA also meets this requirement.
For the 2014 Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Administration calculated that a minimum of 72 slots would create the scale needed to fund the wrap-around support services required for Early Head Start, such as disabilities, health, nutrition, and education managers as well as screening and home visits. It is unclear whether this same requirement will be in place for future EHS-CCP funding opportunities.
The 20% "match" or "non-federal share" can include both cash and in-kind contributions (e.g. space, materials, volunteer hours). One note of caution: matching funds cannot include any federal dollars. And federal dollars never lose their identity, meaning federal funds to states that are then passed on to communities by the state are still federal in nature and cannot be used as match. Grantees that cannot meet any portion of the required annual match may apply for a waiver at the time of funding or any time during a twelve month budget period. Additional resources about the match are available from the National Center for Program Management and Fiscal Operations.
There are a number of great resources out there to find partners. If you're from a family child care or center-based child care, use the Head Start Locator to find the programs in your area and contact the grantee or delegate listed. If you're from Early Head Start, consider using your state QRIS to find programs committed to quality or look for those with NAFCC or NAEYC accreditation. For both types of partners, you may also want to reach out to your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency; many of them are already engaged in local conversations about partnerships and can help facilitate collaborative planning.