This announcement solicits applications for the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems: Building Health Through Integration.
The purpose of this grant program is to improve the healthy physical, social, and emotional development during infancy and early childhood (birth to three years of age);
to eliminate disparities; and to increase access to needed early childhood services by engaging in systems development, integration activities and utilizing
a collective impact approach to strengthen communities for families and young children and to improve the quality and availability of early childhood services
at both the state and local levels. This program broadens and enhances the efforts of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs authorized
by section 511 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 711), focusing attention on the needs of our youngest citizens, infants and young children.
Applicants have the option to plan, if necessary, and implement one of three strategies: 1) Mitigation of toxic stress and trauma in infancy and early childhood.
This strategy should be broadly focused across multiple systems in communities, and coordinated with medical homes, trauma prevention activities, and collective impact approaches;
or 2) Coordination of the expansion of developmental screening activities in early care and education settings statewide by connecting pediatric and other child health
leaders with child care health consultants to link training and referrals among medical homes, early intervention services, child care programs and families; or
3) Improvement of state infant/toddler child care quality initiatives (State licensing standards/Quality Rating and Improvement Systems [QRIS] and/or professional development)
by incorporating 10 or more Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs , 3rd ed. (CFOC3) standards
focused specially on the infant/toddler age group (see Appendix A). Note: “early care and education” is inclusive of child care, day care, pre-school, pre-K, kindergarten,
Early Head Start, and Head Start programs. For more information on “child care health consultants,” see http://cfoc.nrckids.org/StandardView/126.96.36.199. This new emphasis on
infancy and early childhood builds upon the goals and objectives of earlier Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) initiatives and recent scientific evidence regarding
the relationship between early experience, brain development, and long-term health and developmental outcomes. Lifespan trajectories for health, educational achievement and
social-emotional sturdiness have their foundations in the earliest experiences, intimately and individually, beginning within the prenatal environment and building through the
first months of caregiver-infant interactions. The vision for the future of child health care and the development of comprehensive early childhood systems requires intentional
focus on infants and young children assuring health and developmental trajectories by fostering safe and nurturing relationships, and mitigating toxic stress that would otherwise
compromise future capacity. All applicants are required to partner with an early childhood state team to include, as appropriate, representatives from programs, projects and
professional organizations including but not limited to: health (e.g., Title V, local public health, community health centers, Medicaid, American Congress of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and their Building Bridges Among Health & Early Childhood Systems Project women’s health, infant mortality, Healthy Start,
Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies); mental and behavioral health (e.g., children’s mental health, Project LAUNCH, Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) trauma informed
practice grantee, Pediatric/Infant mental Health Professionals, substance abuse prevention); education (e.g., IDEA Part C Early Intervention and Part B Preschool, Race to the Top);
family support and home visiting (e.g., MIECHV, Strengthening Families, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP), Child Welfare, domestic violence prevention, Help Me Grow, ABCD);
and early care and education (e.g., State Advisory Councils, State Child Care Licensing, Head Start, Child Care Health Consultants, State child care administrators, Healthy Child Care
America partners, and/or Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies). (NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. If an existing workgroup meets these criteria, a new group does not have
to be established.) This funding announcement also requires applicants to enlist pediatricians, preferably their AAP Chapter leadership and other child health providers, to join with
state ECCS, MIECHV and early care and education professionals to lead state policy development that supports programs or services that focus on mitigating toxic stress, expand developmental
screening, and strengthen systems for improved child care quality and child care health consultation in infancy and early childhood. It is our belief that by a specific focus on infants
and young children, applicants will drive the critical health and early childhood partnerships necessary to establish integrated services that support building lifespan health and sturdy
development of children, as called for by the newest Early Brain and Child Development science to improve child and family outcomes. All applicants are encouraged to review Early Learning
Council/State Advisory Council (SAC) membership and assess whether it has representatives from pediatric health and infant/pediatric mental health. If the SAC lacks such representatives the
ECCS leadership team should focus efforts to address such needs. All applicants are encouraged to align ECCS plans and activities with relevant MIECHV, Project LAUNCH, and SAC policies and
initiatives, as well as other state early childhood initiatives, to reduce redundancies, ensure maximum leveraging of federal early childhood investments, and ensure sustainability beyond MCHB funding.
In addition to planning and implementing the selected strategy, all successful applicants will be required to build ECCS leadership in aggregating, aligning and reporting on statewide
early childhood data that aligns with benchmark areas identified in the MIECHV legislation at section 511(d)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act. This additional effort (that is separate and
distinct from the activities outlined above) builds commonality,
documentation and alignment of indices for building health and developmental outcomes by broad early childhood investments.