Establishing Governance and Sustainable Partnerships
Establishing effective governance and strategic partnerships are key to strengthening early childhood systems. Resources in this section provide examples of how State, Territory, and Tribal Governments have established governance structures to streamline administration of early childhood care and education programs and strategies for developing strategic partnerships to accomplish a shared vision and goals.
How Georgia and Kansas Support Intragovernmental Partnerships
This state highlight examines how Georgia and Kansas–states with different forms of governance for comprehensive early childhood care and education (ECCE)–incorporated intragovernmental partnerships into their state processes. It describes how those partnerships were leveraged to address system gaps, increase access, strengthen program alignment, and effectively respond to challenges identified in their comprehensive ECCE needs assessments.
Strategic Partnerships in Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five Renewal Applications
This report analyzes the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) renewal applications from 23 states that received federal funding to support state efforts to expand access to high-quality early learning experiences. These experiences occur in a wide range of settings, including centers, family child care homes, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, state preschool programs, and home visiting services. This analysis specifically focuses on the role of partnerships in Grantee states’ proposals. All 23 states proposed partnerships—with a range of organizations from advocacy organizations to institutions of higher education (IHEs) and for multiple purposes.
Early Childhood Governance: A toolkit of curated resources to assist state leaders
This toolkit of curated resources contains introductory information for those who are initially considering a focus on governance by providing definitions, a short overview, and materials about key facets of governance including varying approaches and models. For those who are already considering governance reforms, we provide more in-depth materials that include a guide for those looking at governance structures and deeper dives examining different aspects of governance in states. The concluding section provides information on systems frameworks, as a reinforcement that governance is one of several critical elements for achieving an equitable early childhood system at the state level.
How Governance Influences State Early Childhood Systems
This video shares the lessons learned and insights of three experienced state early childhood administrators. Each state has consolidated early learning programs in different state agencies; however, they share a common goal to create greater efficiency, accountability, and access to programs for all children, particularly vulnerable children and families. The state leaders respond to the following:
- What matter most about their state’s governance structure for early childhood programs
- How the Governance Structure Helps State Leaders Influence Early Childhood Policy
- Essential Strategies for Effective Early Childhood Systems
PDG B-5 TA Center 2020 Annual Meeting - Strategic Partnerships Strand Opening Session
During the opening session for Developing and Maintaining Strategic Partnerships strand, presenters provided a broad and historic overview of strategic partnerships in early childhood systems across the country and presented a vision for what it might look like in the future.
PDG B-5 TA Center 2020 Annual Meeting - Governance and Finance Strand Opening Session
During the opening session for A Strategic Approach to Governing and Financing the ECE System strand, presenters provided an overview of key issues that affect the governing and financing of the early care and education system. Presenters shared their experiences with system reform and noted that financing is key to cross-sector system redesign efforts and described innovations in their states. View Video
1) Regenstein, E. (June 2020). Early Childhood Governance: Getting There From Here. Foresight Law and Policy
Type of product: guidebook/report
Brief description: This resource is a guidebook/report that describes a range of different state governance models in states, the processes of governance change, and identifies key questions states should wrestle with and guidance on how to assess the tradeoff of different governance models. It also provides a guide to the essential elements and capacities states may need to develop a working governance model. The guidebook/report is based on stakeholder interviews, including 89 state and national leaders representing at least 27 states. It includes a series of questions and decision points to guide a team through developing a governance model and framework.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this guidebook/report to support needs assessment and strategic plan development (e.g., weigh the tradeoffs of various governance models) and guide the development of a governance model, or procedures to implement or refine a model. The guidebook/report contains lessons learned from a diverse set of states on how they developed, adopted, and implemented a governance model.
2) Regenstein, E. (June 2020). Early Childhood Governance: Decision Guide. Foresight Law and Policy
Type of product: checklist
Brief description: This resource is a checklist that complements the report Early Childhood Governance: Getting There From Here, which provides more detail on each of the issues raised here. The structure of both documents is the same to allow for easy cross-referencing. This guide articulates key questions that states can ask about their current capacity, structure, and resources and the answers drive the next step in the decision-making process which ultimately leads to the development of a state early childhood governance model.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use the shorter decision-making checklist to identify the specific areas it would like to address in considering governance changes or development. The guide also offers a series of self-assessment questions a state could use to facilitate discussion, further analyses, and identify priorities as they relate to governance.
3) System Framework: Governance Component
Type of product: website
Brief description: This resource is a website with multiple resources and provides detailed information on the governance sub-component of ECTA's System Framework. The ECTA System Framework guides state Part C and 619 Coordinators, their staff, and partners in implementing an effective statewide system to ensure and support quality services throughout a state. The website and resources are particularly applicable to Part C and Part B; however, many of the resources are applicable to early childhood governance and partnerships in general.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use the resources on this website to assess their current governance structure for their mixed delivery birth through five system and then identify the specific sub-component(s) to focus PDG B-5 funds and efforts. For example, a state may identify legal foundations or administrative structures and use the website resources to guide a discussion of how to develop or refine and improve the quality of services in their system.
4) Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide: State Systems Guides
Type of product: guidebook
Brief description: This resource is a set of practical guides by the ACF/Office of Child Care designed for state leaders to address a range of systems building topics, including strategic plans, sustaining gains, communicating with stakeholders and maintaining strategic partnerships. It also includes practical tools such as the Capacity Assessment Tool which supports an organization to highlight strengths and challenges within and surrounding the organization, system, or any project or initiative to improve its early childhood system. Each guide reviews the key models and aspects of the topic chosen, shares lessons learned for partners, highlights state examples, and shares resources. Topics include the following: strategic plans, sustaining gains, strategic relationships, stakeholder communications, program design and implementation, financing strategically, program evaluation, and continuous quality improvement. It also includes a capacity building self-assessment tool for use in planning and monitoring progress with systems improvements.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use these guides to increase knowledge about the steps needed to build an effective and functioning early childhood system and implement their strategic plan. The self-assessment tool can be used in this planning and also for monitoring progress with systems improvements.
5) Atchison, B. & Diffey, L. (2018). Education Trends: Governance in Early Childhood Education. Education Commission of the States
Type of product: report
Brief description: This resource is a 9-page report that highlights the three early care and education (ECE) governance models that are commonly used in states and describes the differences between ECE and K-12 when considering governance models. Those three models are: creation of state offices; the consolidation of others, and collaboration; and coordination across several state agencies.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this report to get a quick understanding of the three types of governance models common across states, and to identify a state example to learn more for their own state’s strategic planning about governance.
6) Del Grosso, P., Akers, L., Esposito, A. M., & Paulsell, D. Early Care and Education Partnerships: A Review of the Literature (OPRE Report #2014-64). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families
Type of product: literature review
Brief description: This resource is a literature review that provides an overview of the current knowledge base for early care and education (ECE) partnerships, highlights promising models or components of models for these partnerships, and identifies gaps in the research. It was conducted as part of the Study of Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships. The review includes partnerships between Head Start and Early Head Start Grantees and child care providers; school districts and child care providers and Head Start agencies; and other types of partnerships, including partnerships with informal caregivers and early intervention services. For example, to develop and implement ECE partnerships, partners need to establish agreements, draw on multiple funding streams, build relationships and maintain ongoing communication. The review identified common barriers, including poor collaboration quality, regulatory differences across funding streams, discrepancies in program standards across ECE settings, insufficient funding, discrepancies in teacher pay, and issues with teacher turnover. Factors that appeared to facilitate ECE partnerships included committed leadership, strong relationships and common goals among partners, joint staff trainings, formal agreements and communication plans, staff assigned to oversee the partnership, and structured planning processes.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this review to identify the priorities and activities likely to support implementation of partnerships, barriers to partnerships, and factors that may facilitate partnerships. The review can also provide a checklist for strategic planning about facilitators of partnerships and potential challenges and how to prevent or avoid them (e.g., common barriers such as poor collaboration quality, regulatory differences across funding streams, discrepancies in program standards across ECE settings, insufficient funding, discrepancies in teacher pay and issues with teacher turnover).
7) Early Head Start- Child Care Partnerships: Spotlighting Early Successes Across the America
Type of product: research to practice brief
Brief description: This research-to-practice brief highlights the work of 12 Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) programs, describing lessons learned, and making recommendations for improving the program moving forward based on interviews conducted at the 12 EHS-CCP sites. Grantees included a combination of states, cities, and nonprofit agencies. Specific elements related to infant-toddler partnerships are addressed.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this resource to access state profiles, gain knowledge, and learn more about the partnerships studied. In addition, a state can use the summary of the report to share with a leadership team or early childhood advisory council (ECAC) and can use the recommendations to assess and prioritize their efforts in building sustainable partnerships.
8) Fact Sheet: Building Partnerships between Early Head Start Grantees and Child Care Providers
Type of product: brief
Brief description: This brief summarizes the requirements of the federal Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) partnership grant. It also presents highlights from a 2010 study of successful partnerships.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this 4-page brief to identify best practices and lessons learned regarding successful and sustainable partnerships that they can use in their own strategic planning about partnerships.
9) Collaborative Partnerships Between Early Care & Education and Child Welfare: Supporting Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families Through Risk to Resilience
Type of product: research to practice brief
Brief description: This resource is a research-to-practice brief, issued jointly by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families and the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care (OCC) to highlight the priority placed on partnerships to better serve vulnerable child populations and families. One of the priorities of the OCC is to help states reach infants and toddlers who are in, or at risk of, entering the child welfare system. This brief extends these collaboration discussions in the early childhood education (ECE) system to include the child welfare system.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this resource to identify ways to ensure children in the child welfare system have access to high-quality ECE programs. Some examples of how states have prioritized serving children in the welfare system are included and could inform a state's approach to developing policies and guidance.
10) Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guides and Tools
Type of product: web page
Brief description: This resource is a web page on the Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System website that includes multiple resources to help states and programs assess systems in the early care and education arena. The link provides a list of resources and practical tools that states can use to assess their state system building activities.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this website to increase their knowledge about what is necessary to build a strong and effective early care and education system. The list of resources includes several checklists that a PDG B-5 Grantee could use in their needs assessment and strategic planning.
11) Connors-Tadros, L, Grafwallner, R., Martella, J., & Shultz, T.(2018). Defining a Highly Effective Office of Early Learning in State Education Agencies and Early Learning Agencies: A CEELO Vision Paper. Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes
Type of product: report/white paper
Brief description: This resource is a report/white paper that describes a vision for an effective Office of Early Learning (OEL), regardless of the “governance” structure in a system. The authors reviewed the literature on leadership and organizational effectiveness, interviewed early childhood state and national leaders and drew on the more than 30 years of experience in the field of the report authors. The paper is a first step toward a deeper understanding of what it takes to build a highly effective OEL in state government that improves outcomes for children, highlighting three capacities necessary for effective functioning of the office in state government with authority for operating preschool and other early learning programs.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this report/white paper to gain knowledge about how to build an OEL or how to refine an existing OEL to improve child outcomes The characteristics of high-performing OELs in three dimensions that can be used in strategic planning are: Organizational Capacity—What highly effective OELs look like; Organizational Effectiveness and Efficiency—What highly effective OELs seek to achieve; and Leadership and Staff Capabilities—What leaders and staff members of highly effective OELs know and are able to do.
Type of product: toolkit
Brief description: This resource is a toolkit that provides resources for building and sustaining community partnerships. It can be used by states with various stakeholders in local communities to help them take action and teach and train others in organizing for community development. It contains many briefs with information and practical tools for assessing community needs and resources, addressing social determinants of health, engaging stakeholders, action planning, building leadership, improving cultural competency, planning an evaluation, and sustaining efforts over time.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use the Community Tool Box to identify specific priorities and activities to improve and organize for community development. A state can access the practical tools (i.e., for assessing community needs and resources, addressing social determinants of health, engaging stakeholders, action planning, building leadership, improving cultural competency, planning an evaluation, and sustaining efforts over time).
13) COVID-19 Resources & Policy Considerations
Type of product: website
Brief description: This website resource is an Interactive state map that identifies child care, K-12, and postsecondary COVID-19 responses (state-by-state). This map is updated regularly.
How Grantee would use product to support grant activities: A PDG B-5 Grantee can use this website as a quick reference to all of the responses made in one's own state (including changes to licensing regulations, governor actions, use of Education Stabilization Funds through the CARES Act, or the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF), etc.). This website could be helpful in informing stakeholders about the various decisions being made by different state departments. The information on this site may also be helpful to a state that is looking for new ideas on how policy changes have been supported and articulated in other states (links are included).