On January 23, 2023, the Children’s Equity Project partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center and Start Early to host part one of their three-part webinar series concerning the impact of the Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCPs), titled “Building Supply, Enhancing Quality, and Advancing Equity.”
Shantel Meek, the Founding Director of the Children’s Equity Project, and Assistant Research Professor Eric Bucher gave overviews of the briefs regarding the success of EHS-CCPs, before leading into a panel discussion with Linda Smith and Yvette Sanchez Fuentes. Overall, the panel illustrated the importance of the grants that fund partnerships between Early Head Start (EHS) and child care partners. Meek and her colleagues recommended that EHS be used as a replicable model and not simply a program, creating a universal understanding and standard for infant and toddler care.
The standards of the program require small classroom group sizes, mental and physical health resources, family services connections, nutritious meals, job coaching/consultation, among others. When child care partners implemented these standards, research showed that there were intergenerational and ripple effects: the children of Head Start graduates were more likely to complete high school and higher education and had better general health. Additionally, funding from EHS-CCPs provides benefits for all students and teachers in a program regardless of their enrollment in the program. Ultimately, better indoor and outdoor resources, teacher training, and overall community support improves the quality of child care for all adjacent to those directly enrolled.
To fully align with the Early Head Start model, Meek and her colleagues recommend: to increase funding from Congress, prioritize high need applicants, refund the T/TA center in Health and Human Services (HHS), and encourage states to apply for the EHS-CCP grants and incorporate their own funds.
The next two webinars are on April 4, 2023 and July 18, 2023.
By Olivia LaMarco, Policy Intern