Ten states and the District of Columbia are receiving $100,000 grants to come up with ways to expand services to young children from the prenatal period to age 3.
The Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI), which supports high-quality early learning as part of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation, awarded the grants through its Prenatal-to-Age-Three State Grant Competition.
In addition to the District of Columbia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin received what PCI calls planning grants. The recipients are expected to use the grants to build a coalition to produce a plan designed to provide greater access to services for young children and their families.
“We were looking for states that really had a big, bold vision,” said Janet Froetscher, the president of the Pritzker Family Foundation. “They weren’t looking just to make marginal change. They understood that the gap between the children they’re serving now and the children that needed the services was really large, and marginal change wasn’t [going to] get them there very quickly.”
These grant recipients will have six to nine months to develop a plan. After that time, the grantees will be eligible to win another grant to support implementation of their plans based on the quality of their proposals.
The grant winners will also join the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers, a PCI-funded initiative, to ensure that the ideas they develop will be shared widely.
All of the winning proposals incorporated public and private partnerships, a key component to building the coalitions PCI supports.
“The most promising applications described approaches that build on locally-driven efforts, address issues of inequity, and maximize the best practices across child care, health, early-childhood education and human services to address new challenges facing infants, toddlers and their families,” said PCI Director Gerry Cobb in a news release.
PCI also praised New Mexico, New Jersey, and South Carolina and agreed to support their efforts to better serve infants and toddlers.
Interest in the grants was high with 42 of the 44 eligible states entering the contest. Six states, California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon, were ineligible because the foundation is already working with them to develop a plan to expand high-quality early-childhood services.
The grants are part of PCI’s plan to facilitate the expansion of these services to at least one million more low-income families with young children by 2023.
Image by Getty
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.