Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) was awarded a federal Preschool Development Birth Through Five Grant (PDG B-5) from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and the Department of Education. In 2018, DCYF was awarded an initial grant of $5,270,656 and then in 2019 was awarded a renewal grant for $33,527,307 to carry out approved activities over the next three years.

DCYF recognizes early learning services as a core prevention strategy. The PDG B-5 award will allow the agency to strengthen and build integrated services across early learning and child welfare, including the expansion of crucial programs for children.

Funding from the PDG B-5 will be used to facilitate collaboration and coordination among existing programs of early childhood care and education. DCYF will use the current statewide mixed-delivery system to prepare low-income and disadvantaged infants, toddlers, and young children to enter kindergarten.

DCYF will partner with stakeholders and the community to conduct a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment, followed by in-depth strategic planning to help further advance the agency’s work to support families and providers caring for our state’s youngest children.

Alignment

Equity and Early Learning Plan Fact Sheet 
Part of DCYF’s planning process for 2020 includes DCYF’s Strategic Plan, our Racial Equity Plan and facilitating Washington’s Statewide Early Learning Plan. Although on different timelines, these efforts complement and inform each other.

Resources

Washington's 2019 PDG B-5 Renewal Grant

Washington's 2018 PDG B-5 Initial Grant

Activity Areas

DCYF Goal: Integrate existing data sets and community and program-level needs assessments with new data to update and fill gaps in Washington's current Early Learning Plan.

DCYF is working closely with a diverse group of partners and stakeholders, with representatives from multiple state agencies, to gather, analyze and draft a birth through five needs assessment. This assessment will guide our efforts as we continue to build upon our state's early learning system. Dr. Vickie Ybarra, Director of DCYF's Office of Innovation, Alignment, and Accountability, will provide technical oversight to ensure the accuracy and validity of all data reported in the final assessment.

DCYF Goal: Develop a strategic plan that increases key partner alignment and coordination, enhances quality within our state's robust mixed delivery system and establishes the roadmap for system development.

Strategic Plan: DCYF will use the results of the needs assessment to develop a strategic plan that increases key partner alignment and coordination, enhances quality within the state's robust mixed-delivery system and establishes the roadmap for system development. This plan will improve kindergarten readiness, improve classroom inclusion for children with disabilities and identify strategies for building on federally-funded initiatives to maximize choice and impact for children and families.

Early ECEAP: As part of the strategic plan, DCYF will plan and design Early ECEAP modeled after Washington's Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) and federally-funded Early Head Start, providing comprehensive early learning and family support services for at-risk infants and toddlers through a center-based program. The design team for this program includes representation from internal and external partners, as well as tribes.

ECLIPSE: DCYF's Early Childhood Intervention and Prevention Services (ECLIPSE) offers developmentally-appropriate therapeutic programming for families and children birth through five who have endured biological, familial and environmental risk factors consistent with exposure to complex trauma in early childhood. Complex trauma in early childhood describes both children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events—often of an invasive, interpersonal nature—and the wide-ranging, long-term effects of this exposure. Complex trauma in early childhood may impact a child’s ability to form secure attachments, regulate emotions and relate well to others. Currently, ECLIPSE services are offered in two counties: King County through Childhaven and Yakima County through Catholic Charities. A recent report identified state and county estimates of the ECLIPSE-eligible population. To expand this type of trauma-focused service array, there is a need to identify programmatic and funding structures to continue to build strong outcomes for children and families in a model that is sustainable and can be expanded in other communities in Washington. As part of the PDG, DCYF will form a design team, evaluate options and make recommendations for programmatic redesign and funding strategies to enhance sustainability and ultimately allow for expansion.

Our Goal: A statewide coordination and referral system, expanding on evidence-based Mobility Mentoring® and develop specialized pathways to improve early learning services to families involved in child welfare and/or who access Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Improving Child Welfare Referrals to Early Learning Services: House Bill 1661 calls on DCYF to assure that children most at-risk of experiencing adversity have the opportunity to engage in high-quality early learning experiences. In pursuit of that goal, DCYF collected data to better understand the referral pathways from child welfare to early learning. This led to the development of two pilot projects aimed at identifying barriers and breakdowns in the current system and strengthening the links between child welfare and early learning. The pilot sites, located in Aberdeen and King South East child welfare offices, are testing three strategies to address two primary challenges: information siloes between child welfare and early learning workforce and systemic barriers that make follow-up and performance improvement difficult. Data gleaned from these sites, along with feedback from staff, providers and communities involved, will allow DCYF to reduce missed connections and gaps in needed services while ensuring that this critical effort is as effective as possible. As part of the PDG, additional sites will be added so that referral pathways and supports to link child welfare staff with community early learning partners will be further developed. 

Play and Learn Groups: Building on an effective home visiting pilot in one Central Washington county with families enrolled in TANF, DCYF, in partnership with Child Care Aware (CCA) of Washington will offer drop-in Play and Learn Groups in three Community Service Offices (CSO) across the state. The Play and Learn model has shown success in supporting child outcomes for families not accessing formal care. Modifying the model to include a drop-in approach in a high-traffic office will help reach underserved children in our state. Every week, CSOs will offer four or more hours of facilitated drop-in play where children and their families will participate in child-directed learning activities such as music, storytelling and reading. Families will leave with information and resources to continue to support early learning for their children.

Mobility Mentoring®: From 2014 — 2018, DCYF coordinated a pilot to test a statewide approach to family support for two main purposes. First, to offer differentiated services to families through evidence-based family support practices. Second, to be able to tell the story both qualitatively and quantitatively about the life-changing work ECEAP contractors achieve with families through family support services. Mobility Mentoring® is a family engagement approach that uses coaching methods rooted in the latest brain science. Mobility Mentoring® aims to overcome the extreme stresses of poverty by improving focus, planning and decision-making. It is designed to help people set and achieve future-oriented goals, despite the immediate challenges and weight of poverty. To further explore and understand the concerns of ECEAP contractors and other partners related to the implementation of Mobility Mentoring® with racial and ethnically diverse families, ECEAP is implementing a workgroup scheduled to begin in 2019. This workgroup will include ECEAP contractors who have expressed an interest in sharing their ideas and concerns related to Mobility Mentoring® implementation in relation to the wide variety of families and communities they serve. For more information on EMPath and Mobility Mentoring®, click here. To learn more outcomes specific to ECEAP, click here.

Help Me Grow®: DCYF proposes to continue building a comprehensive, coordinated, place-based system of early identification and referral, modeled after Help Me Grow®. Help Me Grow® is a system model that promotes cross-sector collaboration to build effective early childhood systems that mitigate the impact of adversity and support protective factors among families. The blueprint for this system includes four features: a centralized access point, connections to child health providers, family and community outreach and data collection and analysis. All aspects of the system are designed to respond to the unique needs and cultures of the families who use the system. DCYF will partner with agency partners to outline priorities and next steps. This system is a necessary precursor for Washington State to meet its goal of 90 percent kindergarten readiness. To learn more about Help Me Grow® National Center, click here.

DCYF Goal: Promote financial and administrative efficiencies and responsive, comprehensive services for child care and early learning providers, enhance kindergarten transitions and build providers’ capacity to serve children impacted by trauma.

Inclusion: DCYF and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) are committed to supporting children with special needs across agencies. Significant reductions were made to this activity area as the state has an opportunity to leverage support and resources from two other inclusion-related grant sources. The PDG will maintain very modest funding for community convenings to support inclusion planning as outlined in the application.

Strengthening Kindergarten Transitions: The Superintendent’s Office of Early Learning and DCYF will partner with tribes, Educational Service Districts (ESDs) and other community partners across the state to learn about experiences related to readiness and transition. These two state agencies will collaborate to create a report that summarizes statewide gaps and assets related to kindergarten readiness and the transition from preschool to kindergarten and from kindergarten to first grade. The purpose of this report is to inform the development of toolkits that are contextualized to districts, child care providers, partners, families and caregivers so they are equipped to better support kindergarten transitions. Listening tours will help DCYF establish accessible community resources for families and providers, culturally-responsive approaches and harness strong community partnerships to help children in setting-based and home-based care be ready for kindergarten. While listening tours will be implemented across the state, DCYF will emphasize this work with tribal partners to understand where tribal cultural values and education systems disconnect, and how this breakdown impacts American Indian children, who experience the lowest rates of kindergarten readiness in our state.

Shared Services: For comprehensive services, DCYF will leverage existing capacity within ESDs that offer family support and health coordination services and professional learning services to early learning providers at the community level. During the funding period, DCYF will determine how to create sustainable structures in regional communities to best support providers with resources necessary to offer comprehensive early learning services.

DCYF’s Business Services model will build on existing collaboration and create multiple efficiencies. Four Washington regional sites participated in some aspects of Shared Services using Child Care Aware of Washington’s “Business of Child Care” training and providers across the state began accessing resources through “Business Edge.” Implementation of the Shared Services pilot is outlined in Activity 5.

Mental Health and Trauma-Informed Consultations and Practices: Washington State is developing an Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) system and established a Trauma-Informed Care Advisory Group to expand services and improve providers’ responses to vulnerable children. IECMHC services are currently available to children in ECEAP/Head Start settings, but practice differs widely from program to program. Additionally, an Infant Toddler Consultation component within Early Achievers includes a small mental health consultation program that leverages funding from Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), but services are limited to children aged birth to 3 at sites participating in Early Achievers, and do not meet the demand for support statewide. To expand IECMHC and trauma-informed practices, DCYF will develop a regionally-based health consultation model across the state to support early learning providers. With one-on-one consultations, DCYF will build provider capacity to understand common trauma responses and effective strategies for providers to create a safe and nurturing environment for trauma-affected children. DCYF will establish a trauma-informed care advisory committee and subcommittees to select trauma-informed care training models, conduct community partner meetings to obtain specific feedback on potential models and develop expulsion tracking policies and prevention strategies.

DCYF Goal: Pilot Early ECEAP, Shared Services Business Coaching and Inclusion Practices to improve quality statewide.

Early ECEAP: In the last six months of 2019, DCYF will use the Early ECEAP plan to launch Early ECEAP readiness training at 10 early learning pilot sites. Recommendations learned from the pilot sites will be used to inform an Early ECEAP launch in subsequent years. During 2019, this work will be housed in the Head Start Collaboration Office in DCYF's Early Learning Division.

Shared Services: DCYF will pilot a menu of comprehensive services in two selected Educational Service Districts (ESDs). These side-by-side pilots (planned and market-based services) will focus on a select group of providers and will be implemented in the final quarter of the grant period. To support business practices, DCYF will pilot business coaching in two or three Child Care Aware of Washington (CCA) regions. This coaching builds upon business training and CCA's existing online business support platform, Business Edge. DCYF will use lessons learned from the business and comprehensive service pilots to roll-out Shared Services to more providers in subsequent years.