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Here are a few of the questions we commonly get about the Child Care NEXT initiative and process.

Last Updated: February 9, 2021

Child Care NEXT will fund and support states that are ready to mount long-term campaigns to achieve transformative change in their child care policies and funding. Up to five states will be selected through an RFP process to receive deep, ongoing support to develop and implement campaigns that achieve transformative child care policy in their state. 

The Alliance for Early Success is currently working with the Child Care NEXT Steering Committee to further shape the initiative and design the Request for Proposals. The responses below are our best thinking to date. We will continue to update this page. If you have any questions about Child Care NEXT that are not addressed below, please email us.

1. Project Goals

Q: What do you mean by “transformative change”?

A: The intent of this initiative is to support bold and ambitious policy changes and funding increases in states so that child care systems serve children, families, educators, and providers more equitably and effectively. We are looking for states that are ready to articulate a “North Star” vision and implement a plan to get there. Some examples of existing initiatives or policy templates include the $10-a-Day campaign from British Columbia, the Child Care for Working Families Act (proposed), the “40 Hours Free”model, and the Build Stronger Child Care Policy Roadmap.

Q: How will impact be measured?

A: At its core, this initiative is about transforming child care policy and funding in states and about building political power. Metrics for success, which are in the works, will be related to these goals.

Q: How will workforce needs be addressed by this initiative?

A: State teams will have about a year to articulate their vision and policy agenda for what a transformed child care system means in their states. That said, we’re working with the Steering Committee to identify some major policy areas that all states should focus on. Transforming policies and funding that support the workforce, including compensation and benefits will be a “non-negotiable” in state campaigns.

2. Funding and Other Supports for States

Q: How much will states get? For how long?

A: Sustained, stable funding is essential to the success of the initiative.  In the first year, each state will receive up to $200,000 for start-up and planning activities. In 2022, each state will receive up to $500,000 for campaign launch and implementation. In subsequent years, pending additional funding for the project, states will continue to receive a similar level of funding to sustain the campaign. A state match of $100,000 will be required each year both to show state-based investment in the work, and to acknowledge that additional resource will be necessary to launch a successful campaign. States will also receive technical assistance and consultation from national child care policy experts and campaign advisors.

We are still fundraising to support up to five states.  We are in the middle of conversations with several donors, but knowing all this takes time, didn’t want to delay getting the state conversations started about what is possible.  When we secured about half of the funds, we decided to get started, and to be optimistic that we can raise the remaining funds. 

Q: How long is a long-term campaign?

A: We know that transformative change takes time, perhaps as long as 10 years. As mentioned above, we are actively fundraising to sustain states’ campaigns. We also expect philanthropic organizations from states to contribute to the long-term funding.

Q: What will the grant support?

A: In the first year, the grant will support the state teams to engage stakeholders, strengthen their grassroots base, and conduct any policy or communications research needed to develop a campaign vision, a policy agenda, and a multi-year advocacy roadmap or strategy. It will also support the launching and implementation of the campaign in 2022.

Q: What counts as state match?  Can in-kind work on behalf of the campaign be considered a part of the state matching contribution? What about existing state investments in child care programs?

A: No. Campaigns require money. The match must be dedicated funding to support the advocacy work to achieve the state’s vision. We recognize requiring a state match disadvantages some states with limited state or local philanthropy. We’d rather work with those states to raise additional funds than to allow for in-kind matches.

Q: Does the state match have to be secured by the time the RFP is due?

A:  We recognize the timeline to complete the RFP may be too short to secure a state match.  We will look for other ways applicants can demonstrate state commitment and clarify this when we release the RFP. 

Q: What are the allowable expenses?

A: This grant can support all activities allowable under c(3) rules, but not c(4) political activities. That said, we encourage state teams to think about how to incorporate c(4) strategies and funding into their plan.

Q: Can the state match fund c(4) activities?

A: Yes.

Q: What type of TA can grantees expect to receive? And by whom?

A: This initiative plans to provide TA on two broad areas – developing policy ideas for transforming child care and designing and implementing effective campaigns. Applicants will have the opportunity to identify TA needs through the proposal process. We aim to be responsive to states’ needs. 

3. Eligibility to Apply

Q: Who can/should submit a proposal?

A: The proposal will designate one or more organizations to be the primary contact for the Alliance, and be responsible and accountable for the development and implementation of the campaign. The primary contact(s) may, in turn, subgrant as needed to other partners within the state. If needed, a separate organization may be named as the fiscal agent.

Q: Can a state team of multiple organizations apply together?

A: Yes, multiple organizations can apply together and submit a single application.

4. Criteria for State Selection

Q: Will part of the selection criteria be based on child population numbers Are there other state landscape principles you are considering/looking for?

A: The Steering Committee is in the process of developing the criteria, and it will be described in detail in the RFP. For this first cohort, we are looking for states that can serve as “proof points” for policymakers, funders, other advocates, etc. As such, our intent is to support a “diverse” range of states that can demonstrate that transformative change isn’t only possible in a certain type of state. We will continue to work with our Steering Committee to specify what “diverse” states mean, but we imagine that we would want diversity in terms of geography, political climate, racial demographics, urban and rural environments, and others.

Q: Can this opportunity support efforts that are already underway that fit exactly into the category that you are describing? Is this opportunity for states that do not already have a pre-existing campaign?

A: States do not have to have pre-existing campaigns to be eligible or competitive. They do have to articulate a bold and ambitious vision for transforming child care AND can demonstrate a history of and capacity for leading successful campaigns.  In addition, we will look for evidence that the campaign will  (1) center racial equity (in terms of what the campaign pursues as its goals, wholeads and are at the table, and how the work gets done) and (2) center the leadership and experiences of those most impacted by child care policy, especially families, providers, and educators.

5. State Teams

Q: How can an early childhood education professional, not employed by a state agency, state contractor or non-profit, participate in this initiative?

A: We require that the state team includes at least one person who is an early childhood educator and another person who is a program director/provider. Of course, state teams can engage practitioners in other ways as well (e.g., advisory committee).

Q: What is the reason that policymakers or state agency leaders aren’t part of the team?

A: They could be part of a state team, just not required.