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Lessons Learned from The Quality Child Care Initiative (QCCI) A Project of the Early Childhood Funders


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Title: Lessons Learned from The Quality Child Care Initiative (QCCI) A Project of the Early Childhood Funders

Lessons Learned from The Quality Child Care
Initiative (QCCI) A Project of the Early
Childhood Funders
  • Presentation for the
  • Early Childhood Funders
  • October 28, 2003
  • Deborah KoganSocial Policy Research
    AssociatesQCCI Evaluator

QCCI Emerged as a Project of the Early Childhood
Funders in 1997
  • To increase the availability of high quality
    child care for low-income families in Bay Area.
  • In response to welfare reform pressures to move
    large numbers of mothers with young children into
    the workforce.
  • Supported by research findings on the importance
    of quality child care for early childhood

Goals of QCCI
  • Illuminate critical issues in child care.
  • Increase the knowledge base of various sectors of
    the child care community.
  • Develop new partnerships between the
    philanthropic and government sectors.
  • Form a child care response that addressed
    regional and local needs.

Distinctive Features of QCCI
  • A comprehensive vision of the issues that affect
    quality child care, drawing on input from
    experienced funders, experts, and the child care
  • A program of joint grantmaking that drew on both
    pooled and directly aligned funds.
  • A multi-pronged approach that made direct grants,
    sponsored community forums, funded technical
    assistance resources, supported grantee
    convenings, promoted public-private partnerships,
    and engaged in dissemination of best practices.

Distinctive Features of QCCI, Continued
  • The availability of a wide range of engagement
    levels for participating funders.
  • An open and highly collaborative leadership
  • Use of an action learning loop that unites
    funders and practitioners in a shared learning
  • A regional approach to quality child care issues.
  • An ability to support flexible responses to
    changing circumstances.

Two Rounds of QCCI Grantmaking
  • During Round 1, QCCI raised 1.2 million in
    pooled funds and made 67 grants to 56
    organizations targeting five strategic areas
    training, advocacy, linkages, facilities, and
    consumer education.
  • At the end of Round 1, participating funders felt
    that their work together was not yet complete.
  • Funders contributed 2.1 million to support a
    second round of QCCI grantmaking. A total of 29
    grants were made under Round 2.

Framework Guiding Round 2 Grantmaking
  • Four Strategic Goals
  • Build a sustainable child care workforce.
  • Strengthen advocacy for child care.
  • Create new/improve existing child care
  • Make child care more accessible to families.

New Approaches Tested During Round 2
  • In response to review and feedback from Round 1,
    new features included
  • A reduction in the number of grants made.
  • An increase in the average grant level.
  • Focus on a priority issue compensation and
    retention of the child care workforce.
  • Grounding of advocacy efforts in focused
    high-stakes issues.
  • An increased emphasis on disseminating best
    practices using resource/TA organizations.

Support for Local Compensation/Retention Projects
  • Provided coordinated support (865,000) for local
    projects and regional technical assistance
  • QCCI support was valued by grantees, because
  • QCCI support was timely and flexible.
  • Funding enabled several counties to weave
    together an integrated project from multiple
    funding streams.
  • QCCI supported networking and information sharing
    among grantees on challenges and accomplishments.
  • QCCI encouraged grantees to think about both
    short-term and longer-term strategies.

Lessons Learned from Compensation/Retention
  • Workforce compensation/retention worked well as
    an organizing issue for advocacy projects
  • It brought together center-based staff and
    family-based care providers.
  • It enabled child care advocates to build broad
    coalitions of parents, educators/trainers, labor
    organizations, worthy wage coalitions, and care
    giver associations.
  • Successful public education campaigns emphasized
    the link between improved compensation and
    improved quality of care.

Lessons Learned from Compensation/Retention
Projects, Continued
  • Grantees found it difficult to sustain
    involvement by child care teachers in
    advocacy/organizing efforts.
  • Planning grantees said that design of local
    stipend programs will be a work in progress for
    some time. Design issues include
  • How much to raise the bar between initial and
    continued eligibility? How to reach family child
    care providers and individuals from
    underrepresented groups? Whether to link
    stipends to permit applications?

Lessons Learned from Compensation/Retention
Projects, Continued
  • Implementation project grantees found it
    essential to build partnerships with key players
    in the education/professional development arena
  • To facilitate access to professional and career
    counseling for child care providers.
  • To expand opportunities for classes and workshops
    needed by individuals participating in the
    stipend program.
  • To increase early childhood education offerings
    at non-traditional sites, during evening or
    weekend hours, and for Spanish-speaking

Support for Provider Training and Leadership
  • Support included 100,000 to each of four
    resource organizations, with a focus on
    under-served groups and local areas, to expand
    training on
  • Providing quality care to infants and toddlers.
  • Providing quality care to an increasingly diverse
    population of children and families.
  • Providing quality care to children with a wide
    array of special needs.
  • Leadership development for child care center

Lessons Learned from Provider Training and
Leadership Projects
  • Grantees found that training projects were not
    limited to delivery of training. Rather, needed
    steps included
  • Meeting with representatives from targeted
    communities to build trust and identify needs.
  • Developing training curricula and resource
    materials in appropriate languages and with
    culturally sensitive content.
  • Recruiting and training trainers.
  • Arranging for academic credit for successful
  • Conducting outreach to potential participants.
  • Delivering training.
  • Providing ongoing hands-on support to providers.

Lessons Learned from Provider Training and
Leadership Projects, Continued
  • Projects reaching out to underserved populations
    found that intensive interpersonal outreach
    efforts by community organizers were needed to
    recruit targeted individuals.
  • Sometimes the necessary precursors to training
    took time
  • One grantee found it necessary to work at the
    system level to raise the visibility of children
    with special needs before undertaking intensive
    practitioner-level training.
  • Another grantee entering a new geographic area
    found that it had to talk with caregivers and
    build a trusting relationship before offering
    training on serving infants and toddlers.
  • Practitioners valued training that offered
    academic credits, which helped practitioners
    advance on the permit matrix and qualify for
    local stipends.

Lessons Learned from Provider Training and
Leadership Projects, Continued
  • One grantee emphasized the importance of
    mentor-to-trainee and peer-to-peer dialogue
    during and after training to share experiences
    and solidify learning.
  • Organizational (employer) involvement in planning
    and delivery of training supported individual
    caregiver participation and made it easier for
    caregivers to apply their new skills in the
  • When preparing a curriculum for use by a new
    cultural and language group, a process of
    cultural translation was often needed to reveal
    the hidden cultural assumptions in the training
    content before the language translation was made.

Support for Parent Advocacy
  • The Parent Action for Child Care Today (PACCT)
    project received a QCCI grant of 80,000,
    designed to
  • Develop and promote a parents platform and
    communicate it to key state and local
    decisionmakers in a public Parent Summit.
  • Support three local chapters of Parent Voices in
    recruiting parents and involving them in
    meaningful child care advocacy work.
  • Increase the stature and maturity of Parent
    Voices as a parent advocacy organization and
    public policy stakeholder at the state level.
  • Using the Parent Summit as a stepping stone, the
    project helped mobilize parent energy around a
    key state budget issue (reduction in funding for
    child care set-aside for families who had
    recently left welfare).

Lessons Learned from Parent Advocacy Project
  • It is possible to focus parent advocacy efforts
    around a critical issue and to influence key
    decisionmakers at the state level.
  • The work of paid staff is essential to sustain
    the momentum of parent involvement.
  • Interest from parents in additional counties
    around the state demonstrated the potential to
    form new local chapters of Parent Voices.
  • As a result of its involvement in state budget
    issues, Parent Voices has been collaborating
    closely with other child care, labor,
    faith-based, and non-profit groups.

Support for Child Care Facilities
  • QCCI provided a 100,000 grant to Low Income
    Investment Fund (LIIF) to
  • Provide technical assistance to build provider
    capacity on business practices and facilities
  • Link child care providers to expert consultants
    in the fields of facilities financing and
  • Create a Predevelopment Fund to support
    individual planning and predevelopment grants to
    licensed nonprofit child care centers (12 grants
  • Expand LIIF activities beyond San Francisco to
    eight additional counties.

Lessons Learned from Facilities Grant
  • Building relationships with child care
    organizations and prospective applicants in new
    counties requires personal contacts and a
    substantial investment of time and effort.
  • A number of applicants lacked the threshold
    organizational capacity to manage a capital
    development project. Used referral linkages to
    basic capacity building resources.
  • Priority centers (those serving low-income
    families and children with special needs) often
    need the greatest amount of technical assistance
    and capacity building.
  • Predevelopment and planning activities are only
    the first step in a long process. Need to
    develop outcome measures that track progress
    toward actual facility development.

Support for Centralized Eligibility Lists (CEL
  • During Round 2, QCCI continued to play an
    important supporting role in its partnership with
    the State of California Department of
    Education/Child Development Division supporting
    the development of county-level CELs (lists of
    families eligible for subsidized child care)
  • Facilitated meetings of the states CEL Task
  • Supported networking among counties on CEL design
    and implementation issues.

Lessons Learned from CEL Project
  • Modest but strategic investments by the
    philanthropy community can stimulate the public
    sector to make significant investments in
    projects that address the needs of children and
  • QCCI support helped ensure use of uniform design
    and data elements across county CELs, which was
    critical to build the potential for state-level
  • Without continued state funding, many counties
    were unable to continue/move forward on CEL

Evolution of QCCI During Round 2
  • Funder participation grew from 16 to 21
    foundations. Nine new foundations joined the
  • Second-round participating funders were more
    comfortable contributing to the pooled fund.
  • QCCI handled turnover in administrative staffing
    without disrupting operations.

Evolution of QCCI During Round 2, Continued
  • QCCI Leadership Team remained in place overseeing
    shared funding until the end of QCCI Round 2
    grants led planning for end of formal QCCI
  • Group of interested ECF members met to develop
    new ECF leadership and assess the feasibility of
    continuing some QCCI-related functions as part of

Exit Strategy for QCCI
  • Short-term funding to leadership and training
    grantees to support planning for organizational
  • Clear communication with grantees about the end
    of the formal QCCI collaborative grantmaking
  • Dissemination of lessons learned
  • About funder collaboratives.
  • About regional projects supporting quality child
  • Discussions about continuing some QCCI-related
    functions as part of ECF or as independent
    projects by individual funders.

Funder Perspective on QCCI Accomplishments
  • Funders particularly valued QCCIs contribution
  • Increasing the visibility and priority of child
    care issues on the public agenda.
  • Viewing and addressing child care issues from a
    regional perspective.
  • Helping document and disseminate information
    about best practices in the child care field.
  • Providing grantees with a single point of access
    to potential funders.
  • Reinforcing funders decisions to make
    independent grants in the areas of QCCIs funding

Grantee Perspective on QCCI Accomplishments
  • Grantees particularly valued the following
    aspects of QCCI
  • Grant flexibility the willingness of QCCI to
    adapt terms of grant to meet changing conditions.
  • The fact that QCCI gave attention to issues not
    recognized by other funders, such as advocacy,
    community organizing, and inclusion of children
    with special needs.
  • Modest and streamlined oversight and reporting
  • Provision of valuable and interesting information
    at grantee convenings.
  • Assistance in developing relevant outcome

Grantee Interest in Continued Philanthropy
Support for Quality Child Care
  • Surveyed grantees indicated that they hoped the
    philanthropy community would continue to
  • Support innovative projects, such as CARES, that
    build on current efforts and require an extended
    period of time to mature.
  • Support advocacy efforts to help protect hard-won
    child care quality improvements.
  • Help broaden the child care discussion to include
    voices not always heard, including parents and
  • Convince the business sector of the economic
    benefits of quality child care.
  • Convene regional stakeholders to develop new
    strategies for quality child care in todays
    difficult economic and political environment.

Lessons Learned About Funders Collaboratives
  • Most funder staff that participated in the funder
    survey would recommend that their foundation
    participate in future collaboratives.
  • Perceived benefits of collaboration included
  • Ability to leverage individual foundations
    investment with pooled funds from other funders.
  • Ability to learn from other funders (about the
    field and about other approaches to grantmaking).
  • Coordinated grantmaking strategy that resulted in
    a greater impact on the early childhood education

Lessons Learned About Funders Collaboratives,
  • Funders identified the following factors as
    contributing to the success of QCCI as a funders
  • Having strong but flexible leadership.
  • Using a multi-pronged approach that includes both
    individual grants and grantee/community
  • Securing funder buy-in to a broad regional
    picture of the issues and grantmaking strategies.
  • Allowing funder participation at a variety of
    different levels of commitment.
  • Offering both aligned and pooled funding
  • Coming together in a flexible and time-limited
    project, rather than creating a permanent program
    or organization.
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