Smart Start leaders, staff and consultants are available to assist you in the development of your early childhood initiative. Consultation packages can be developed specifically for the needs of your organization and include access to the other resources available through Smart Start's National Technical Assistance Center. While this program is available on a fee basis to cover our costs, you may be eligible for an Intensive Technical Assistance Grant if you meet the selection criteria and are approved as part of the assessment process.
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The National Technical Assistance Center is providing grants valued at approximately $100,000+ in technical assistance to communities and states to support the development and implementation of comprehensive, community-based early childhood initiatives. The technical assistance provided under this grants program will focus on the knowledge gained and the lessons learned through North Carolina's Smart Start Initiative and will be available for a period of up to eighteen months following notification of the grant award.
Up to ten communities and/or states (to be referred to as "grantees") will be invited to participate in this grants program. In the initial phase, information will be obtained regarding the current status of the grantee's efforts to develop an early childhood initiative. Upon completion of the assessment, a technical assistance plan will be developed in coordination with key leaders of the grantee. This plan will incorporate the use of the resources available through the National Technical Assistance Center in meeting key goals. Upon reaching a mutual agreement as to the goals established in the technical assistance plan, a range of resources will be made available to each grantee including:
1. Assistance from an on-call "coach" to work with the grantee to meet the goals of the Technical Assistance Plan.
2. Access to a range of other consultants with expertise in particular components of Smart Start including the TEACH® Early Childhood Program and the WAGE$® program.
3. Access to staff and resources of the North Carolina Partnership for Children.
4. Participation in a 3-day site visit to North Carolina to meet with Smart Start officials.
5. Designation of a Smart Start local partnership as a mentor to the grantee.
6. Attendance at the Smart Start Annual Conference by a 3-5 member team.
7. Access to the Smart Start Speakers Bureau for use in conferences and special events.
8. Receipt of numerous Smart Start publications.
9. Access to technical assistance through the password-protected National Smart.Net web site and list serve.
Each of these resources will be provided in a manner that directly meets the needs of the grantee as they move forward in the development and implementation of their early childhood initiative.
A state or local government entity or a nonprofit organization may request participation in the Intensive Technical Assistance Grants Program if they meet the following criteria:
a. Leadership: There should be clear leadership and active support for the initiative by a top elected official in the community or state.
b. Community-based: Whether the grantee is at the local or state level, the initiative should take an approach that allows communities to make the decisions for what is best for their children and families within the bounds of scientific research and best practice. For communities requesting participation in the program, it is anticipated that this will be an integral part of their plan. For states, the focus of their early childhood initiative should include a community-based approach with local entities serving as the primary vehicles for decision-making and implementation of the initiative at the local level.
c. For ALL Children: While it is anticipated that the majority of resources in any early childhood initiative will be focused primarily on low-income and at-risk children, potential grantees should develop their initiatives in a way that supports the development of ALL young children.
d. Comprehensive: Potential grantees at the state or community level should be developing an initiative that is comprehensive in its focus, incorporating goals and integrating services in a manner that builds the quality, affordability, and accessibility of child care, assures access to health and developmental services for young children, and strengthens the family's ability to meet the developmental needs of their children.
e. Collaborative: The leadership committee of the initiative, whether at the state or community level, should reflect participation by key officials involved in service delivery and/or policy development related to young children and families. This would include high-level representatives of the public schools, human service agencies (Social Services, Health, Mental Health), Head Start, Cooperative Extension, and United Way. In addition, child care providers, parents, business leaders, elected officials, civic leaders, and members of the faith community should serve on the leadership committee of the initiative.
f. Funding: The potential grantee should have secured at least initial funding to support the development or implementation of the initiative. A specified amount has not been designated as it will vary based on the community or state and their level of development.
g. Staff: The potential grantee should designate one staff person who will play the key leadership role in the development of the initiative. This individual will serve as the primary contact for the National Technical Assistance Center.
These criteria will be key factors in determining which communities and states will be selected for participation in the Intensive Technical Assistance Grants Program.
Each community or state that is selected for the Intensive Technical Assistance Grants program will undergo an assessment process prior to the start of the program to gain a better understanding of the initiative and its specific needs for technical assistance. An Intensive Technical Assistance Assessment Tool (pdf) will be used as part of this process with a customized technical assistance plan resulting from the data collected during that process.
Each community or state selected for participation in this program will be required to meet specific identified goals as a condition of the grant. These will be identified during the development of the Technical Assistance Plan to assure that they are attainable and reasonable based on each grantee's specific level of development. In addition, each grantee will be required to match 10% of the grant. These funds will be used to provide additional resources and technical assistance to the grantee as part of the program.
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If your community or state has an interest in participating in the Intensive Technical Assistance Grants Program, contact , director of Smart Start's National Technical Assistance Center. A consultation package can be developed based on specific needs of the organization.