Supporting States with Preschool Development Grants
To help states expand quality and access to early childhood education, in 2019 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Care, supported 46 states and territories to improve the overall quality of early childhood care and education services. The Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) initiative supports states to create plans to facilitate collaboration and coordination among existing early childhood care and education (ECCE) programs across five broadly defined activities:
- Conducting statewide needs assessments;
- Developing and implementing a Birth-to-5 Strategic Plan;
- Maximizing parent knowledge and choice;
- Sharing best practices; and
- Improving overall quality.
Twenty states were awarded three-year renewal grants in 2020 to implement their first-year plans with the overarching aim to coordinate existing early childhood services and funding streams and serve more children effectively in a mixed-delivery system.
AIR has partnered with four states—California, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota—to support their PDG work as they expand access to high-quality early childhood care and education.
- In California, AIR experts led a comprehensive statewide needs assessment and have conducted surveys and interviews with early care providers and key stakeholders as part of the first-year planning grants.
- In Illinois, AIR led a comprehensive, statewide needs assessment, provided a review and recommendations report on ECCE governance structures for the state to consider, and led the development and is involved in developing a statewide strategic plan that will incorporate findings from the needs assessment and input from various stakeholders and constituents.
- In Michigan, AIR experts completed a statewide needs assessment and obtained feedback from various stakeholders to inform a long-term strategic plan.
- In Minnesota, AIR developed videos, trainings, infographics, and a practitioner-facing report for early childhood educators, kindergarten educators, school and district leaders, and families on evidence-based practices to promote successful transitions into kindergarten.