Sunday, March 10, 2013

Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Grants Announced

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the 2013 Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems: Building Health Through Integration grant opportunity.

As outlined by HHS, the purpose of this grant program is to improve the healthy physical, social, and emotional development of children during infancy and early childhood by improving the quality and availability of services in communities throughout the nation. Specifically, this opportunity will fund strategies focused on creating a seamless system of early childhood services for children and their families by engaging in systems development and integration activities.

The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant opportunity will allow grantees the option to plan, if necessary, and implement one of three strategies:
  1. Mitigation of toxic stress and trauma in infancy and early childhood across two or more early childhood systems (e.g., health, child care, home visiting, parenting education, etc.); 
  2. Coordination of the expansion of developmental screening activities in early care and education settings statewide;
  3. Improvement of state infant/toddler child care quality initiatives (e.g., State licensing standards) by incorporating 10 or more Caring for Our Children 3rd edition standards focused specially on the infant/toddler age group. 
Typically, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grantees are active members, and in some cases hold a leadership role, in their early childhood multi-agency state teams. These teams have developed plans that guide the development, implementation, governance, and financing of their state early childhood service systems. Traditional recipients of these funds have been State Title V Departments and/or State Maternal and Child Health Agencies and/or departments, and/or their contractors.

Strengthening Families - a framework developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) - has partners at the federal, state and local levels working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.  The Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant notice highlights the importance of partnering with early childhood state teams, including Strengthening Families.  To learn more about how Strengthening Families and the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant priorities are aligned, check out a recent brief written by the Strengthening Families team.

Eligible applicants include state and/or local governments and nonprofit organizations. HHS anticipates making 57 awards of no more than $140,000 per year for three years. It should be noted that awards will be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.  Applications are due April 26, 2013.  To learn more about the application process, please click here.

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