May 2016 | Report 393

 

Introduction
For more than two decades, scientific research has increasingly revealed the critical importance of the first years of a child’s life on cognitive, emotional, and physical development.  This scientific evidence has also been a focus in discussions regarding appropriate public policy related to very young children, particularly those from vulnerable households.  As a result, there has been an expansion at both the federal and state levels in funding opportunities for early childhood programs.  However, this array of new funding sources also means the landscape of early childhood funding has become more complex.  Service providers may find it difficult to determine which grant program is most appropriate for their unique needs and may struggle to understand and comply with multiple sets of requirements when two or more funding sources are blended together.  Philanthropic organizations focusing on early childhood issues may also struggle to maximize the impact of their contributions as they work with multiple grantees drawing on different federal and state funding streams, each with their own unique match requirements, use restrictions, and eligibility standards.  Even parents and families selecting services may be confused in choosing an appropriate program as they encounter different titles and acronyms attached to individual programs.

The Catalog of Early Childhood Funding in Michigan is intended to help stakeholders navigate this new landscape.  The catalog provides a comprehensive review of the major sources of federal and state funding available to support early childhood programming in Michigan.  It is divided into two sections.  The first section reviews the primary sources of funding programs (e.g. Head Start, child care subsidies) aimed – in whole or in part – specifically at early childhood efforts and initiatives.  A second section covers secondary programs with a broader programmatic focus where the program’s core mission includes early childhood efforts.

For each federal or state program identified, the catalog compiles key information helpful to stakeholders attempting to better understand and more effectively utilize available federal and state dollars to meet the needs of young children in vulnerable households.  This includes specific information on each of the following program components:

Program Goals and Purpose:  An overview of the general purpose and goals of the program as set out in its authorizing statute.

Eligible Activities:  A review of the specific requirements, restrictions and limitations on how program dollars are utilized.

Eligible Recipients:  A description of entities eligible to receive program funding, as well as restrictions regarding the population of children and families served under the program (e.g. age, income, demographic factors).

Available Funding and Award Process:  Summary information on how program funding is awarded (e.g. competitive grants, formula allocation) and the criteria used in allocating funds.  This includes information on awards to entities in Michigan and, specifically, when available, within Wayne County and the City of Detroit during the last completed fiscal year.

Match Requirements:  A review of program matching requirements, including details on flexibility in providing “soft match” dollars using in-kind support versus strict cash match requirements, or other “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirements imposed on recipients.  This includes a discussion of available waivers or other exception processes through which match or MOE requirements can be altered.

Major Program Changes since 2000:  Summaries of the major changes to program criteria since the year 2000, with a particular focus on any reauthorizations of applicable federal and state laws and/or the promulgation of new rules and regulations.  In particular, the catalog includes a review of:

  • Changes in overall funding available under the program, including changes to funding distributed to entities in Michigan.
  • Major changes in the program’s administration, including changes in guidelines regarding the allocation and/or distribution of funding and the nature of required matching funds.
  • A review of recent special initiatives and pilot programs launched to test the efficacy of new approaches within the program.

Program Administration:  Contact information for the lead federal and/or state administrative agencies responsible for administering the program as well as links to key program guidelines, relevant legislation, and administrative rules.

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