July/August 2021Vol. 22, No. 7Early Childhood-Child Welfare Grants: Where Are They Now?
In 2011, the Children's Bureau (CB) funded nine Early Childhood-Child Welfare (ECCW) grants to build local community partnerships that maximize the enrollment and attendance of infants and young children who are age birth to 5 years and who have or are at risk for child welfare involvement into comprehensive, high-quality early care and education and mental health programs. It has been nearly 10 years since the ECCW grants were awarded, and CB, in collaboration with the Administration for Children and Families' Office of Early Childhood Development (ECD), checked in with grantees to see how ECCW projects have changed and developed over the last decade. Beginning in January 2021, ECD and CB hosted conversations with three former ECCW grantees to ask, "Where are they now?" These conversations included the following former ECCW grantees: the Arizona Superior Court of Maricopa County; the Colorado Department of Human Services; and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Throughout these conversations, CB and ECD heard stories of grantees who built sustainable community partnerships between high-quality early care and education systems and child welfare. CB and ECD analyzed these conversations to give the field an update on where the grantees are now and the lessons learned from their ECCW journey.
The goal of the ECCW grants was to support a partnership between early childhood and child welfare systems as well as build the infrastructure to support those connections long term. Throughout all three interviews, it became clear that different elements of the ECCW partnerships are continuing to flourish and expand through improved referral systems, increased focus on prevention, and the enhancement of organizational supports.