Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide

Technical Assistance in Systems Building for State Leaders

Technical assistance to support systems building, including strategic planning, is available through the State Capacity Building Center and may be available through other federal technical assistance centers. Please check with your State Systems Specialist for more information.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 articulates a systems approach for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, with states working on access, quality, and supply of child care within newly articulated requirements that apply across all participating states and territories. Innovation and opportunity are key to the thinking and action required to make the best use of the federal law. The 2014 Act emphasizes the need for action with partners, which requires systems leadership capacities for all-embracing, aligned action with partners. The cross-cutting nature of implementing reauthorization asks CCDF leaders to achieve results by coordinating resources and policies within and beyond their immediate control. Critical provisions of the new law cannot be achieved by one agency or program alone. Full implementation will be realized only through strong leadership, intentional sharing of leadership, and coordinating and collaborating with key stakeholders and partners. Changing mindsets and sharing leadership are key to successfully ushering in these sweeping statutory changes. They are also leadership interventions.

As leaders, one of the best ways to intervene and bring about change is to deepen our learning about ourselves—to improve our understanding of our actions, behaviors, decision-making processes, conversations, questions, and choices. To help us with this type of learning, we can turn to the latest in neuroscience, which has discovered new insights into the key drivers of adult learning and behavior. The biggest influencer of our actions and behavior is a complex dance between our brain, body, and nervous system. The field of neuroscience has had significant breakthroughs in understanding the origins of our behavior by looking deep into our brains with advanced neurotechnology. These new insights into our brain are now being applied in the real world through an interdisciplinary approach by neuroscientists and experts in leadership practice and change management. “Leadership,” chapter 1 of Systems Building Resource Guide, shares cutting edge, brain-based models for improving both our individual and systems leadership practices as well as approaches for leading change.