Financing Strategies and Collaborative Funding for Inclusive Programs
Many collaborative strategies, sample interagency agreements, planning tools, and funding sources exist to assist states and communities in providing inclusive preschool special education services. Additional information related to financing IDEA Part C and Section 619 services can be found on the ECTA Center's topic page on Finance.
Funds Supporting IDEA Services and Early Childhood Settings for Young Children with Disabilities (2022)
This document summarizes major Federal and State early care and education funding streams that may be used to support young children with disabilities.
ECTA's 2018 update of the finance toolkit contains more details and examples of funding requirements and strategies that promote early childhood inclusion.
- Early Childhood Programs Comparison Worksheet
- Determining Costs Inclusive Worksheet
- Braiding Funds: How Districts Can Create Inclusive Placement Opportunities for Young Children with Disabilities: This quick excerpt from the toolkit provides examples of the various ways in which districts and partners can braid funds to create inclusive placement options for young children.
This brief, 2-page document describes the legal foundations of serving young children with disabilities in inclusive early care and education programs and how those settings are determined. The document also provides links to federal and technical assistance center resources on early childhood inclusion.
On This Page
Planning Tools and Self-Assessments
Focuses on the fiscal aspects of early education partnerships including: funding sources, braided funding, fiscal agreements and fiscal reporting.
Developed by NECTAC for Section 619 Coordinators, LEA program staff, community partners and early childhood TA providers.
Putting it Together: A Guide to Funding Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education (2012)
This tool from Christine Johnson-Staub of CLASP helps states look beyond major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. CLASP has also made available a 2012 presentation on the guide.
Includes the steps to take in fiscal mapping for collaboration and sustainability.
The Road to Sustainability (2002)
This guide from the National Center for Community Education in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance that provides worksheets and information for building partnerships. (see pages 2-11)
State Examples of Planning Tools and Self-Assessments
- Basic Needs Assessment and Planning Resources (CCIP) (2009): This Ohio Department of Education document includes resources to use in doing a district/agency needs assessment and plan for the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) such as: 1) a link to a step-by-step needs assessment process with many resources, 2) a list of the current federal/AYP goals, 3) a list of basic data analysis questions, 4) a matrix of CCIP plan requirements, and 5) a list of all the prewritten strategies available in the CCIP.
- Preschool Service Options Considered in Wisconsin (2011-2012): Developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction was designed for use in gathering data about current placement options and considering ways to increase the number of available placement options in your State.
- Definitions of Preschool Options (2011-2012): Accompanies the document above and provides definitions for terms references in the description considerations.
- Improving Public Financing for Early Learning Programs (2011): NIEER Policy Brief, W. Barnett, W.S. and Hustedt, J.T. This National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) policy brief examines sources and models of public financing of early care and education to increasing program access and quality.
- Blending and Braiding Funds to Support Early Care and Education Initiatives (2003): This Finance Project strategy brief highlights the successes and lessons learned in blending early childhood funding streams. See p. 6 and pp. 11-16 for information related to formalized agreements.
- Financing Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Possibilities and Technical Issues for States in Using Funds Under the Child Care and Development Fund and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (2003): By the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP), is a summary of how Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant funding streams may provide additional support for universal prekindergarten, child care, and early education initiatives.
- Finance Reform: Visioning a New Approach to ECE Finance (2002): This paper accompanies the "We Don't Just Need More Money..." PowerPoint presentation, and summarizes a speech given by Louise Stoney at the Maine Head Start Director's Retreat in September 2002.
- Fiscal Management Checklist for Partnerships (2002) by Quality in Linking Together Early Education Partnerships (QUILT), a project previously funded by the National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center (NCCIC) focuses on the fiscal aspects of early education partnerships including; funding sources, braided funding, fiscal agreements and fiscal reporting.
- The Road to Sustainability (2002): This guide by the National Center for Community Education in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance provides worksheets and information for building partnerships. See pp.26-33 for information related to formalized agreements.
State Example of Collaborative Strategies
- Prekindergarten Children with Disabilities: Expanding Opportunities for Providing Services, A Guide for Making System and Program Level Decisions (2008): developed by the Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services. This guidance document provides information on the research regarding the benefits of inclusion related to child educational outcomes, building social relationships and family perspectives as well as system and program level considerations and a decision-making overview. Several appendices may be of interest, including:
- Appendix A: School District Data Gathering: Community Baseline Information for Preschool-Age Children to help gauge where typically developing children ages 3-5 are during the day
- Appendix D: Potential Partners
- Appendix E: Program Models for Inclusion
- Appendix F: Early Childhood Program Partner Questionnaire
- TAP #07-03 - Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Programs and Programs for Children with Disabilities (2007): Memorandum, Technical Assistance Paper (TAP) issued by the Office of Early Learning of the Florida Department of Education is in a question and answer format and discusses service delivery models and funding.
Local Examples of Collaborative Strategies
- Our Journey in Funding Inclusive Child Care Programs (2011): PowerPoint presentation by the ESE Supervisor, Prekindergarten of Pinellas County Schools, Florida.
- Financing a Birth to Five Program: The Appleton Area School District Model (2011): By Matthews, H. This Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) paper examines one school district's use of funds from Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide services for very young at-risk children, noting that Title I funds may be used for children beginning at birth and can be an important part of a comprehensive birth-five program in a community.
To develop a system of collaborative services, state agencies rely on agreements between involved parties. Resources below provide specific details related to collaborative funding to promote inclusion.
State Examples of Interagency Agreements
- Handbook on Developing and Evaluating Interagency Collaboration in Early Childhood Special Education Programs (2007): Provides specific information and resources designed for early intervention and local education agency professionals in creating and executing agreements between various agencies that will provide efficient and seamless delivery of services.
- Preschool Education Program Contract (2011-2012): This is a standard state-approved contract for districts to use with Head Start providers.
- Virginia Interagency Agreement for Service Delivery for Children with Disabilities and their Families (1999): Between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, Head Start Bureau - Region III and the Migrant Branch; the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Substance Abuse Services. See p.18 for recommended practices on funding.
- West Virginia Early Childhood Training Connections and Resources provides templates, samples and instructions for developing local early childhood interagency agreements and collaborative procedures that can be adapted as desired to meet local needs. See also their template on Resource Sharing (2011) which includes sample charts for articulating resources to be shared, with or without cost delineation, by each participating agency.
- Financing Approaches to 4 Year Old Kindergarten (2009): A Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction publication which highlights community approaches to providing prekindergarten. See pp. 44-78 for Interagency Agreement Templates.
Local Examples of Interagency Agreements
Northside Independent School District (NISD) of San Antonio, Texas has three separate agreements for the various inclusive placement options available for children ages 3-5 with the following:
Funding Streams and Accountability
U.S. Department of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website provides information about the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) three formula grant programs authorized by the IDEA. These formula grants are awarded to states annually to support early-intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, preschool children ages three through five, and special education for children and youth with disabilities.
See also: Part B Section 619 Finance Regulations
This visual depiction of funding streams was prepared by NECTAC, and the descriptive listing, adapted from NCCIC, provides links to the primary funding sources (federal, state, local and private) that may be used in supporting high quality inclusive programs.
Side-by-Side Comparison of Federal and State Requirements for Early Childhood Education Services (2014)
This docuoment shows key elements of Early Head Start (EHS) and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) legislation and regulations. It can also serve as a tool for States and local organizations to enter state-specific early education program requirements. Once complete, the grid can be used as an at-a-glance resource to identify similarities and differences across regulations and funding sources, as well as a springboard for determining ways to overcome barriers to successful early education partnerships.
Features selected regulatory citations from IDEA for consideration when braiding funding to promote preschool inclusion.
This Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) paper examines one school district's use of funds from Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide services for very young at-risk children, noting that Title I funds may be used for children beginning at birth and can be an important part of a comprehensive birth-five program in a community.
This centralized location allows grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. The system currently houses information on over 1,000 grant programs for federal grant-making agencies.
This Pre-K Now report examines the range of different financial approaches states employ, their effectiveness and sustainability, and how investments can be increased to improve Pre-K quality and expand program access.
Prepared by The Forum for Youth Investment and The Finance Project on the why and how of developing a resource map to develop a vision and framework for taking action, this Adding it Up Brochure is a 2-page fiscal mapping brochure.
Financing Universal Pre-Kindergarten: Possibilities and Technical Issues for States in Using Funds Under the Child Care and Development Fund and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (2003)
This CLASP report summarizes what is clear and what is unclear about the extent to which each of the funding streams could be used in support of universal Pre-K initiatives.
The Road to Sustainability (2002)
A guide by the National Center for Community Education in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance provides worksheets and information for building partnerships. Advocating for Support, pages 12-17 and Finding Funding, pages 18-25.