Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced it was awarded a grant for early childhood programs to increase their financial sustainability and demonstrate strong child outcomes.
The Heinz Endowments awarded $300,000 over two years to DHS, in partnership with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11, to pilot regional shared-service alliances to support improving high-quality early child care programs.
“This grant will allow child care providers the ability to focus on the development and nurturing of the children in their care,” said Acting DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “Evidence shows that children with access to high-quality child care have the necessary skills to learn, grow, and thrive. “Many early child care programs do not have the staffing and fiscal resources to provide comprehensive management services. This grant will allow programs to provide staff support that results in better child outcomes.”
Under the grant, three pilot sites will be strategically selected to reflect a variety of populations in Pennsylvania. DHS will focus on scaling shared services at the local level across diverse community settings, identifying and implementing supportive policy practices at the state level to incentivize the adoption of the shared-service model, and helping to build sustainability.
Shared services have been shown to alleviate the financial and business stress that may permeate the early learning business model. The shared-services model strives to leverage several smaller program needs to develop a sustainable response to staffing and support gaps in child care programs. This allows multiple entities to come together to share resources, reduce administrative costs, and increase professional development. Business functions can be prioritized and assigned to subject matter experts, leaving more time for early learning professionals to do what they do best—care for and teach children.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to alleviate some of the administrative burden for child care providers,” Miller said. “As Pennsylvania’s future, children must be given every opportunity to succeed. Innovative collaborations such as these strengthen the early child care system, enabling providers the ability to provide high-quality services to the children in their care.”
For more information, visit http://www.dhs.pa.gov.