Other Federal Agencies with ECE Programs

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U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

Within DoD, the Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth administers ECE programs for U.S. military families through facilities located on military installations worldwide. In 2010, Dod oversaw 900 child development centers and school-age program facilities, caring for approximately 200,000 children each day. Military ECE programs must abide by state health and safety standards and must meet standards necessary for accreditation by a national accrediting organization. DoD’s overarching policy includes the requirements of the Let’s Move! Child Care obesity prevention initiative.  Standards and practices for obesity prevention are reflected in program administration, daily activities for the classroom, and professional development for staff.

In 2011, DoD, in partnership with HHS, the Department of Education, and USDA, initiated a 13-state pilot project focused on increasing the availability of quality ECE options. As part of this project, State Military Child Care Liaisons have been established in all 13 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington) to serve as subject matter experts on quality ECE issues for military families. Additionally, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has assigned Extension Educators to each of the pilot states to develop training and technical assistance scans for each state, and to provide an extensive overview of training currently available to support quality child care. Several of the pilot states are implementing and providing obesity prevention training as part of this project.


U.S. Department of Education (DoEd)

Within DoEd, the Early Childhood Education Program administers the Even Start Family Literacy Program, the Early Learning portal, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program. These programs govern how states and public agencies provide early intervention, education, special education, and related services to infants, toddlers, children, and youth.
  • In 2010, HHS and ED formed the Early Learning Interagency Policy Board to better connect health and education. The Board is charged with improving the quality of early learning programs and outcomes for young children; increasing the coordination of research, technical assistance, and data systems; and advancing the effectiveness of the early learning workforce among the major federally funded early learning programs across the two departments.1
  • ED administers the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grants, which were initiated in 2011. RTT-ELC grants focus on improving early learning and development programs for young children by supporting states’ efforts to 1) increase the number and percentage of low-income and disadvantaged children in each age group of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs; 2) design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning programs and services; and 3) ensure that any use of assessments conforms with the recommendations of the National Research Council’s reports on early childhood.  Some states have incorporated health components into their RTT-ELC activities.


U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)

GSA is the leading federal agency overseeing ECE facilities for federal employees.* In 2010, more than 100 independently operated ECE centers were located in GSA-managed spaces across the country, (see Resource F). The Public Buildings Service within GSA provides guidance, assistance, and oversight to federal agencies for the development of ECE facilities and hosts periodic ECE conferences, which include issues related to child health. GSA is committed to having 100% compliance with the Let’s Move! Child Care standards and best practices for obesity prevention for their network of centers.

* Other federal agencies operate their own child care centers outside of the GSA network (e.g., NASA, FAA, FDIC).



1. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to Announce Formation of Interagency Policy Board on Early Learning [press release]. 2010 Aug 3. Available from  http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/08/20100803a.html. Accessed 2012 Feb 14.