The need for high-quality early learning opportunities in LA County is profound: in 2016, LA County’s Alternative Payment childcare voucher program served nearly 7,000 children from low-income families.1 However, during that same year, there were more than 44,500 eligible children on the waiting list.2
Through a $3 million dollar Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) will expand its capacity to address this substantial need. Specifically, this grant will enable the expansion of high-quality early learning programs within nine high poverty ZIP codes and neighborhoods (including areas that are part of the Los Angeles Promise Zone and South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Promise Zone (SLATE-Z)). The LA County Child Care Planning Committee has ranked the vast majority of these ZIP codes as high for eligible children needing services, with 66 to 96 percent of eligible children remaining unserved. In these ZIP codes alone, additional preschool slots are needed for over 6,000 children.3
This grant will allow LAUP to improve and expand quality services to 122 infants, toddlers, and their families, by drawing on its existing infrastructure that has supported more than 700 providers and 115,000 children ages birth to five since 2005. Through the EHS-CC Partnership, LAUP will work closely with providers over three years to help teachers and parents develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that best support young children in achieving school and life readiness. Children and their families will be enveloped in a system of supportive care that enhances learning as well as physical and emotional development.
The proposed program will use a mixed-delivery system in which center and family child care home partners offer services aligned with the Early Head Start program performance standards. Child Care Partner sites will provide ten hours of care five days per week, for 48 weeks per year. LAUP’s multifaceted approach will:
- Improve the quality of services provided by Child Care Partners already serving infants and toddlers. LAUP will provide resources and guidance on the development of classroom activities to teachers and directors. Coaches will work with each Child Care Partner site to create high-quality infant and toddler environments and provide support and guidance on instructional techniques, health and safety requirements, and assessment tools. As a result, children and families will receive more comprehensive services including health screenings, nutrition services, and social and family support services).
- Expand the number of spaces available through center-based and family child care providers. EHS-CC Partnership funding will allow existing high quality early learning programs within the LAUP network, to expand and extend comprehensive services to more children and families.
In order to both improve quality and expand services, LAUP will leverage a range of existing services and efforts. LAUP’s participation in Quality Start LA (a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)), with partners First 5 LA, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education, and the Child Care Alliance of LA will provide an array of quality improvement services to nearly 500 state-funded preschools and infant and toddler child care programs. LAUP will educate its EHS-CC Partnership Child Care Partners about the Quality Start LA QRIS and the benefits of participating.
LAUP’s partnership with both the LA Promise Zone and SLATE-Z Promise Zone will also facilitate collaboration with dozens of public, private, and community-based organizations that are working together to improve the lives of children and families in the target high poverty zip codes (see map above).
GPG is proud to have supported LAUP’s application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, which resulted in this grant award.
1. Child Care Alliance Los Angeles, LA County Facts accessed at http://www.ccala.net/public-policy/l-a-county-facts/ on 6/25/17.↩
3. Data accessed at http://ceo.lacounty.gov/ccp/pdf/CapacityforInfantsandToddlersofWorkingFamiliesofAllIncomeLevels_2013_3July13.pdf on 6/25/17.↩