TA Opportunity To Explore Shared Services in Early Care and Education

The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (ECQA Center) is pleased to offer a unique technical assistance (TA) opportunity for states and territories interested in exploring Shared Services.

About Shared Services

There are numerous paths you can take with a Shared Services approach. A Shared Services Alliance is a partnership of small nonprofit or for-profit businesses in which partners work together to share costs and to deliver services more efficiently and effectively. A Shared Services website is a Web platform often developed through the leadership of state and territory leaders that provides an extensive array of tools, resources, and cost-saving opportunities to support the needs and quality improvement of early care and education (ECE) programs. With both options, ECE programs can reduce costs and can improve the management and quality of services by sharing administrative functions with others that provide the same types of services to children and families. For more information, see Shared Services: Supporting Quality in Early Care and Education (n.d.) by Opportunities Exchange; the document is available on this website.

Shared Services approaches can take many forms, but they have the following features in common:

  • Reduced or shared costs through joint purchasing, bulk buying, staff sharing, centralized administration, or some combination of these approaches
  • Shared capacity-building in program, administration, or both through the use of common tools and systems, shared mentoring and supervision, and/or collaborative improvement processes.

This effort is inspired in part by the positive response to Louise Stoney’s plenary session on Shared Services at the 2017 State and Territory Administrators Meeting. If you were unable to attend this session and are not familiar with the Shared Services approach, additional information is available on the Opportunities Exchange website.

Technical Assistance Opportunity

The ECQA Center will host teams at in-person meetings, which will be customized to support states and territories based on their level of knowledge and existing implementation efforts, from the foundational to the more advanced.

Whether your state or territory is new to the Shared Services approach or you already have some elements of such a program in place, participants will be able to increase their understanding of how a Shared Services approach can support an entire ECE system by helping programs build and sustain high-quality early learning opportunities for children and families. New Child Care and Development Fund program regulations identify Shared Services models as one approach to encourage public-private partnerships, increase the supply and quality of child care services, strengthen business practices, and share professional development opportunities.

Shared Services Meeting Topics

The in-person meetings will be held in early 2018 at locations to be determined. There is no registration fee; however, teams are responsible for their own travel costs. The meetings will begin at 1:00 p.m. on day 1 and will conclude by 12:00 noon on day 2. States and territories are invited to apply to attend a meeting on one of the following topics:

  • Shared Services 101: For states and territories that have little or no experience in using a Shared Services approach, this meeting will provide a thorough introduction into what Shared Services involves, examples of how this approach has worked in different states, information on a range of resources, and ways to get started.
  • Shared Services Website: This meeting is geared toward those who have some familiarity with Shared Services and are ready to get started with a Web-based approach. Participants will learn all the details of how such a site could work, how to use it to help build the quality of providers, how other states have adapted the site to meet their unique needs, and how to best drive providers to the site and to increase the use of tools and resources. Participants will receive customized TA to begin planning for the adaptation and launch of a Shared Services website for their own state or territory.
  • State Policy Approaches to Incentivizing a Shared Services Approach: This meeting will support states and territories that are familiar with Shared Services, have launched a Shared Services website, and want to begin thinking about how to revise policy to incentivize the development of more intensive Shared Services approaches. Participants will learn about a range of policy approaches, including shared staff at the regional or local level. They will hear from other states about best practices and lessons learned. Teams will receive customized TA to begin identifying and implementing new policy approaches based on a Shared Services framework.

Team Composition

States and territories are invited to bring a team of as many as five people to attend one of the meetings. Team composition can vary based on the approach taken. Please check with other stakeholders to ensure that only one application has been submitted. The Shared Services TA team will offer a phone call following the submission of the application to discuss specific needs, interests, and goals and to help identify whom to include on the team. States are strongly encouraged to bring more than one team member to maximize this planning and TA opportunity.

How To Apply

Complete the application on line via this Survey Monkey Web link. Applications are due by Friday, January 12, 2018. Once the application has been submitted, we will contact you by January 15 to arrange a time for a phone call with you and other designated team members. If you have questions, please email Gerry Cobb at gcobb@buildinitiative.org.

To learn about additional TA opportunities from the ECQA Center, please visit the ECQA Center’s Web page.