Helping states maximize federal grant money to support child care

Billions of dollars put to work for low-income families and their children

A federal block grant program, the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), offers financial child care assistance for an estimated 1.4 million children across the United States. The goal is not only to empower children for a successful future but to allow low-income parents the opportunity to attend school or train for jobs. The Office of Child Care (OCC) contracted ICF to train its National Centers on how to best administer its share of $5 billion in federal funding.

Challenge:

Develop advanced governance and quality assurance strategies for administering the CCDF block grant.

Solution:

Meet grantees where they are through consultation, training and technical assistance, and shoulder-to-shoulder coaching and mentoring.

Impact:

Early childhood professionals increased coordination and program integration. Grantees received training to support child care providers, families, and their children. The OCC strengthened state, territory, and tribal management practices.

326

total participants trained

127

tribal CCDF administrators trained

198

tribal CCDF grantee staff trained

Supporting the future of child care

“Thank you for being a constant guide, for sharing resources, and, as a result, for advancing my professional skills and knowledge. I look forward to our continued work together!”

— State Impact Project Lead, Alaska

The OCC, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, administers the CCDF block grant. This grant is distributed to states, territories, and tribal governments whose families need financial support for child care.

There are, understandably, many complexities associated with child care needs. Given this, ICF partnered with the OCC on three projects to support the administration of this invaluable grant: the Child Care State Capacity Building Center, the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, and the National Center on Tribal Early Childhood Development.

Training for states, localities, and tribes

“The flexibility and support we experienced before, during, and after the training have been invaluable to our ability to complete the pilot and transition into the statewide version of this training.”

— Sharon Armstrong, Professional Development Coordinator, State of Washington

ICF’s thorough training and technical assistance program was designed with administrators and staff in mind—as well as parents, guardians, and minors. Rigorous consultation provided states, localities, and tribes with targeted ways to integrate continuous quality assurance efforts, advance culturally responsive practices, increase family access to high-quality child care, assist families in security child care resources, and offer specialized support networks for children.

Building long-term sustainability

“Thank you for sharing your expertise and time with me. I can’t tell you how much your knowledge has enriched and benefitted this whole project.”

— Field Operations Policy Specialist, Massachusetts

In 26 states, early childhood professionals benefitted from ICF’s training sessions on child-care business practices. In 9 states, ICF provided consultation and guidance on relationship-based care for infants and toddlers. Throughout, learning professionals received foundational information and resources that increased their confidence. Child-care business owners and practitioners gained added support for their long-term sustainability.

Project leads

  • Rosaria Ribeiro, Vice President, Early Childhood
  • Melanie Brizzi, Senior Director, Early Childhood Systems
  • Laura Johns, Ph.D., Program Director, Early Childhood Quality Assurance
  • Melody Redbird-Post, Senior Manager, AI/AN Specialist
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