The Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships are federally-funded, locally-run programs that bring together the best of Early Head Start and child care through a layering of funding to provide comprehensive and continuous early child development and family engagement services to infants, toddlers and their families. The EHS-CCP model helps support child care partners with funding and holistic support. Currently, 13 Educare organizations in 12 states and the District of Columbia administer Partnership grants with local child care centers and family child care homes, school districts, special education programs, homeless shelters and other community organizations.
Welcome to the second blog in an ongoing series to provide updates on Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) across the country!
For this installment, we were fortunate to connect with Keith Liederman and Yolanda Motley of Clover, formerly known as Kingsley House, to discuss updates on their partnerships with childcare providers throughout New Orleans that serve Jefferson and Orleans parishes.
How Childcare Partnerships Make a Difference
Keith Liederman could not overstate the core benefit of being connected to the Educare Learning Network and Start Early. From the messaging available to help secure funding and resources, to the policy and advocacy support, the net gain of partnership is vast! These supports, layered with learnings from Hurricane Katrina, better prepared Clover to be timely with their adjustments to programming during COVID-19 to ensure prompt delivery of services. Childcare partners felt bolstered by the responsive infrastructure and resources.
Unfortunately, many of the non-partnering child care centers that closed in New Orleans during the pandemic have not reopened. As Keith quickly pointed out, “this is in stark contrast to each of their CCP partners.” Childcares that partnered with Clover through the CCP program not only remained viable but networked smarter to support one another through this challenging time.
Yolanda Motley provided examples of this, sharing, “Our partners used economies of scale to purchase bulk items for a number of sites at discounted rates.” In terms of classroom adaptations, “everyone implemented a universal increase of outside learning time to support best practices during COVID.”
Keith also shared about an opportunity for united advocacy in Washington, D.C. that was well represented by CCP partners. This opportunity provided their partners the space to engage with legislators while also utilizing their strong advocacy skills and building rapport amongst the group. This was yet another learning from Hurricane Katrina – that is, to work together as a shared voice in all opportunities for collective action.
Looking Ahead: Funding, Advocacy & Staffing
We also discussed Clover’s involvement with the Educare Learning Network and Start Early, along with the resulting gains they have made around advocacy, funding and policy in New Orleans. Keith enthusiastically shared news of the successful passage of a Millage that will support and fund childcare expansion for an additional 1,000 children and families in the area. With a possible state match fund, this number could climb to as many as 2,000 additional openings. Local investments like these are crucial as communities soon will be left navigating the loss of the pandemic relief funds that helped stabilize the childcare field.
While this is exciting news, it inevitably brings us to the other side of this equation: funding and advocacy seem to be increasing in some states, yet staffing shortages and the need for quality employees remains a challenge nationwide. And the situation in New Orleans is no different.
All of this leaves the Clover team with one question, shared by educators across the country: how do we increase service without first meeting the demand of staffing?
For more information about the EHS-CCP model at Educare, check out our 8-part series, A Path to High-Quality Child Care through Partnerships.
About the Author
Andrew Bourassa is a HomeStart Supervisor and Coach for Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and a member of the Educare Learning Network EHS-CCP Community of Practice (CoP). The vision of this CoP is to build a community of Network leaders who gain support from one another, share ideas, collaborate on professional development initiatives, and inform the early childhood field through advocacy and policy change. We want to continue fostering relationships throughout the Network and build on existing connections and structures to assure ongoing communication is effectively supported.