“The Department of Education is issuing a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2017 for Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities—Early Childhood Personnel Center, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number 84.325B…
Background: All infants, toddlers, and preschool children (young children) with disabilities should have access to high- quality early childhood programs (U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, 2015). To achieve this, it is essential to have an early childhood workforce 1 that is able to provide to young children with disabilities and their families the specialized services and supports necessary for active participation and ongoing learning in early childhood programs. Research suggests, though, that much of the current early childhood workforce is not adequately prepared to do this (National Governor’s Association, 2010), as does a survey of IDEA Part C and Part B, section 619 coordinators (Bruder, 2010).
To address this challenge, IDEA Part C (section 635) requires the State lead agency to develop and support high- quality, coordinated comprehensive systems of personnel development (CSPD) 2 and IDEA Part B (section 612) requires the State educational agency (SEA) to ensure that personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained. State IDEA Part C and Part B, section 619 coordinators have indicated that their greatest technical assistance (TA) need is in implementing a high-quality, cross-sector CSPD (Lucas et al., 2015).
A critical piece of a State CSPD is the quality of preservice preparation, but many programs that prepare early childhood educators do not require courses, content, or practicum experiences in working with young children with disabilities and their families. Furthermore, many programs do not address relevant personnel standards from State or national professional organizations in their curricula.
This priority will fund a cooperative agreement to establish and operate a national Early Childhood Personnel Center (Center) to improve the quality of personnel who serve young children with disabilities and their families. The Center will provide TA to State Part C and Part B, section 619 programs on implementing a high-quality CSPD. The Center will also provide to the faculty of institutions of higher education (IHEs) TA on programs of study for providing high-quality services and inclusive programs for young children with disabilities and their families.”
-Excerpted from Federal Register, Vol. 82, No. 74, Wednesday April 19, 2017