What Can We Expect from the PDG and Our Early Childhood Programs’ Future?
During somber COVID-19 updates, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation is glad to be part of some good news.
The National Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families has informed Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) of a three-year, PDG B-5 renewal grant. Nebraska will receive $8.9 million for each of the next three years with contributing partners pledging $2.7 million in matched funds.
PDG B-5 is a competitive federal grant program established in December 2015 as part of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The goal is to help states enhance the existing quality and presence of early childhood programs, increase availability for at-risk families, and improve the state-level framework. The first year of grant funding was awarded to 46 states at the end of 2018. This grant allowed Nebraska to complete a comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan.
Nebraska’s continuation grant will build on the momentum created during the first year by funding implementation of the Strategic Plan.
NDHHS will provide overall project oversight. As a subgrantee, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation will serve in a Project Coordination role and will lead the communication and dissemination efforts. The Nebraska Department of Education Office of Early Childhood is also a subgrantee, leading some key activities. Another key partner is the Buffett Early Childhood Institute who will continue the work on the Statewide Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan.
What is on the Horizon? Future Projects, Initiatives, and Action Items
These next few years will be productive, with 22 projects to address opportunities and leverage resources in the Early Childhood system. The six areas of focus are as follows:
- Statewide Needs Assessment Plan
- Statewide Strategic Plan
- Maximizing Parental Choice and Knowledge
- Sharing Best Practices and Professional Development for the Early Childhood Workforce
- Improving Overall Quality and Service Integration, Expanding Access and Developing New Programs, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Data Use for Continuous Improvement
- Meaningful Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
What Can We Expect?
The PDG B-5 Expected Outcomes are as Follows:
- Ongoing status updates of our young children to facilitate state, community, and program-level decisions, with a focus on enhancing rural communities’ capacity
- A more robust community-based framework that supports families in their knowledge of available early childhood programs and puts them in touch with available resources
- Increased efforts to interact with families, assess their needs, educate them about child development, and put them in touch with resources that will support their children
- A more robust early childhood workforce enhanced by a streamlined series of professional development opportunities and relevant motivators to remain in and thrive in the field
- Quality options for infants and toddlers to enter their crucial birth-to-five-years period, and an enhanced kindergarten readiness when they exit that phase
- A streamlined state system with newly revised governance and finance policies that continue to leverage community-level leaders
- Nebraskans that are well-versed on the crucial nature of child development, the grant’s impacts, and the state’s dedication to early childhood
- Results from evaluations that continue to fuel future, quality results