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HHS Releases Competition Guidelines on Early Head Start Partnership Grants

Partnerships between Early Head Start programs and private center- or home-based child-care providers are the focus of a $500 million boost to Early Head Start approved in January as part of a federal spending bill

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Office of Head Start, announced on June 6 the rules that will govern the nationwide competition, which has a deadline of Aug. 20. Community organizations, non-profit or for-profit organizations, state, local and tribal governments, schools, and existing Head Start or Early Head Start grantees all are eligible for this grant program. 

Though the funds can be used for existing Early Head Start programs that want to expand the number of children and pregnant women they serve, partnerships will get bonus points in the competition. Bonus points will be awarded to applications that focus on children from low-income families and that demonstrate an alignment with other government-funded child-care programs, such as the Child Care and Development Fund (also known as the Child Care and Development block grant).

In fiscal year 2013, before the across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration, Early Head Start had a budget of about $1.3 billion. The program was formed in 1994 and serves infants, toddlers, and pregnant women through a combination of center and home-based services. About 111,000 slots were funded in fiscal 2012. 

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