This study examined Federal and state actions to encourage and support partnerships among early care and education programs, and described local early care and education providers’ experiences with partnerships. Locally based early care and education providers such as child care, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten sometimes join forces to improve services and reduce fragmentation resulting from multiple, separate, publicly-funded early care and education programs. By blending funds and resources, such partnerships are positioned to provide full-day, full-year services, offering continuity of care and comprehensive services to low-income children. The study used a standardized case study approach to analyze the state-and provider-level data in the Quality in Linking Together Early Education Partnerships database (QUILT), and reviewed the literature about partnerships and studies of early care and education funding and policies. Major findings included: (1) Actions to support partnerships fall into five broad categories: review; research and dissemination; coordination among state agencies; professional development, training and technical assistance; legal and regulatory actions; and, incentives to encourage providers to engage in partnerships. (2) State and local leaders perceived that the advantages of partnerships outweigh the challenges by providing worthwhile benefits to early care and education programs, teachers, and most notably to low-income children and families. (3) Leaders engaged in partnerships because they result in: enhanced educational experiences at the classroom level; added services for children and families; expanded services to support low-income parents’ self-sufficiency; increased availability of program openings; and improved quality at all program levels.
PIC ID: 8144; Agency Sponsor: ACF-ACYF, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Federal Contact: Martinez-Beck, Ivelisse, 202-690-7885; Performer: Education Development Center, Newton, MA