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Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five


Overview of the Preschool Development Grant (PDG)

In December 2018, the California Department of Education (CDE), as the state lead agency, was awarded a competitive federal Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG) for $10,620,000 from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A total of 46 states and territories received PDG awards that lasted through December 2019.

California was recently awarded a competitive three-year Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Renewal (PDG-R) through the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. California will receive $13.4 million each year for three years for a total of $40.2 million through December 30, 2022. The Governor appointed the California Health and Human Services Agency as the lead agency for the grant in collaboration with the CDE.

For more details about this renewal grant, visit the California Health and Human Services Agency’s PDG webpage External link opens in new window or tab..

Vision and Goals of California’s Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five

PDG articulates a vision for the state’s early learning and care (ELC) system. Children age birth through five, their families, and communities will thrive through an effective and impactful ELC mixed delivery system that is efficiently connected to additional child, family, and program supports. To learn more about the federal PDG requirements, please visit the Administration for Child and Family Services webpage External link opens in new window or tab..

Preschool Development Grant - Renewal (PDG-R)

The PDG activities represent the efforts of many organizations working together to implement the goals of the PDG. The goals of the PDG are broken down into six activities.

To learn more about PDG-R, please use the following links:

PDG-R Application External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

PDG-R Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

PDG-R Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In partnership with the California Health and Human Services Agency, the CDE will work to implement three of the federally required PDG activities:

Activity 5A: Expand Local Quality Counts California (QCC) Consortia to Build ELC and Home-Visiting Capacity In partnership with California Health and Human Services, the CDE will utilize PDG-R funding to increase the support and capacity for family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) providers, family child care providers, and home-visiting providers to provide quality care for underserved populations, particularly infants and toddlers and low-income children and families living in rural and isolated communities and/or experiencing trauma stemming from homelessness, disasters, or other sources.

This project will be implemented through increased allocations, or sub-grants, to the local QCC consortia throughout the state. In developing their plans for more effectively supporting family child care providers, FFN providers, and home visitors, the consortia will need to ensure these providers are equipped with tools such as adverse childhood experience screenings, early childhood mental health consultation, and other trauma-informed care supports. Additionally, the consortia will need to plan for ensuring smooth transitions from ELC to TK–12 and address the needs of children and families eligible for but not serviced by existing programs.

Activity 5B: Strengthen Tribal Child Care Tribal Child Care Association of California (TCCAC) In partnership with the California Health and Human Services Agency, the CDEwill utilize PDG-R funding to expand state and tribal partnerships to enhance infrastructure for strengthening quality, culturally appropriate ELC and to ensure equity in services. PDG-R will also fund TCCAC to hire a dedicated, staff to accelerate the work to improve the tribal Quality Improvement System.

Activity 5D: Redesign Systems for Quality Improvement, Quality Assurance, and System Equity The CDE will redesign the state’s systems for quality improvement, quality assurance, and system equity to support for continuous improvement for all providers and programs.

The CDE will also streamline the state’s quality infrastructure and investments, including QCC, and adopt best practices to focus on elements of quality that affect child outcomes.

Preschool Development Grant - Initial (PDG-I)

The PDG award represented a unique opportunity for California to:

  • Complete a comprehensive Needs Assessment and analysis of the state’s current ELC system, including unmet need for services;
  • Build on previous and current planning efforts to develop an actionable PDG Strategic Plan for improving the ELC system; and
  • Launch or enhance projects that will help lay a foundation for systems improvements, including maximizing parental choice and knowledge, sharing best practices among early learning providers, and improving the quality of ELC programs.

Because of the number of high-quality applications received, most budgets of winning applicants were reduced by 29 percent. California received $10.6 million, the highest level of award. The grant performance period ran December 31, 2018 through December 30, 2020. States and territories that received this grant award were also given the opportunity to apply for renewal grants prior to the end of 2019.

Below is California’s original submitted application and appendices that do not reflect the final award amount. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviewed all states’ revised budgets and awarded reduced funding amounts. Therefore, California will not be able to implement all projects included in their application.

California Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five Application (DOCX)

To achieve the vision of PDG, California utilized the funding to strengthen its current ELC system in several foundational ways. The strategic investments implemented through the grant allowed the State to sustainably accelerate program and systems change at scale for its birth through five population, their families, and the providers who work with them.

The CDE worked in partnership with several national, state, and local organizations to implement the five federally required PDG activity areas:

Activity Description

Activity One: Birth through Five Statewide Needs Assessment

Develop Robust Statewide Needs Assessment Capacity
The American Institutes of Research (AIR) is synthesizing existing ELC data and collecting additional data to determine gaps and needs in subsidized ELC program and related services in order to produce a statewide needs assessment to inform the state’s ability to target services to populations most in need and improve the system over time. The AIR is also updating their Early Learning Needs Assessment Tool (ELNAT) ($1,000,000).

PDG Statewide Needs Assessment Report
Activity Two: Birth Through Five Statewide Strategic Plan Create a Detailed and Innovative Strategic Plan
Building on previous and current efforts to develop recommendations for improving the state’s ELC system, WestEd is working with key stakeholder groups to synthesize existing plans, strategically engage experts and stakeholders to deepen and operationalize recommendations on several priority areas, and complete a detailed Strategic Plan that, upon implementation over time, will enable the ELC system to increase access to quality services for children of diverse needs throughout California ($800,000).

Strategic Plan
Activity Three: Maximizing Parental Choice and Knowledge

a. Create Parent Interface and Consumer Database
Informed by the charge in AB 2960, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is engaging stakeholders in the design of an integrated data system and parent interface to help families easily access services and programs. In partnership with the CDE and the SCCOE, the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCR&RN) is continuing its work on California’s Consumer Education Portal to ensure parents have access to information on quality care and simplify the search process ($1,250,000).


b. Expand Family Access to the Information They Need

The Child Care Resource Center is engaging families through Parent Cafés to enhance parents’ understanding of their role in their children’s development utilizing “Learn the Signs, Act Early” resources, and is partnering with the CCR&R to facilitate a state level Parent Committee of ELC system beneficiaries to articulate the parent perspective and engage in the development of the PDG Strategic Plan and other efforts ($1,250,000).


c. Enhance Family Engagement and Strengthening
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools is expanding its communities of practice with the State’s resource and referral agencies to promote widespread training and utilization of the Strengthening Families framework ($250,000).


d. Build Family Stories and Increase Local Planning Council Capacity
The LPCs have been working with the AIR to collect data necessary for the PDG Needs Assessment and build their capacities to sustain consistent, expanded data collection beyond the federal grant and utilize the results to more effectively ensure local families have access to quality ELC services ($1,200,000).

Activity Four: Sharing Best Practices among State Early Learning and Care Providers

a. Streamline and Strengthen Quality Counts California
The BUILD Initiative is utilizing national expertise to facilitate a stakeholder engagement process to inform recommendations on how to position the state’s quality rating and improvement system, Quality Counts California (QCC), for broad scaling and for greater focus on responsive quality improvement that coordinates all of CDE’s quality initiatives and benefits the full continuum of ELC providers ($500,000).


b. Strengthen Supports for Early Learning and Care Professionals
Working with the QCC Consortium and the Lastinger Center at the University of Florida, WestEd is piloting an online professional learning platform that integrates existing online tools and reduces duplication. This platform will eventually house coaching and trainer certification processes as well as online QCC communities of practice to strengthen provider practice and support local capacity building efforts ($1,443,000).


c. Adapt Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers
WestEd is reviewing and updating the training content for the internationally renowned Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers’ training content and developing an online format to more efficiently train and support a broader range of the infant and toddler workforce ($630,000).


d. Improve Offerings for Quality Online Educational and Professional Development Supports
The California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and other partners are delivering complimentary projects to improve offerings for quality online education and professional development supports for the early childhood workforce ($482,000).


e. Enhance Emergency Child Care Bridge–Best Practices in Trauma Informed Care
The CCR&R network is enhancing supports for the Emergency Child Care Bridge program by creating and disseminating resources on best practices in Trauma Informed Care to coaches and other professionals supporting ELC programs serving foster children ($400,000).

Activity Five: Improving Overall Quality The Tribal Child Care Association of California is expanding their Quality Improvement System and creating a Peer Learning and Leadership Network that will promote mentoring, fellowships, and training and technical assistance to increase leadership skills and content knowledge in order to support the expansion of quality services in underserved areas ($140,000).

Stakeholder Engagement

The CDE launched a cross agency State Stewardship Team (SST) to support the PDG implementation. The SST has contributed to the overall success of the grant by providing input and guidance on PDG activities, reviewing any developed resources and documents, and increasing dissemination and reach of PDG-related activities and resources. The SST is tracking the PDG progress on an ongoing basis and identifying opportunities for collaborative action, including recommending new partners and connecting the work to their constituencies.

The SST is comprised of state agency representatives from the CDE’s Early Learning and Care Division, Special Education Division, English Learner Support Division, Nutrition Services Division, and State Board of Education, as well as First 5 California, the Department of Social Services, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, State Libraries, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Public Health, and the CCCCO.

As part of the PDG Strategic Plan development, WestEd conducted extensive stakeholder engagement, both at the state level, and through regional stakeholder sessions across the state. In addition, WestEd conducted interviews with experts on cross-cutting issues such as data systems and workforce compensation and held targeted input sessions with the Parent Committee and different populations of parents.

For more information regarding the PDG, please visit the California Preschool Development Grant webpage.

Questions:   Kate MoheyEldin | PDG-R@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 26, 2021
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