FY 2024 Annual Performance Plan and Report - Strategic Goal 3: Objective 3.2

Fiscal Year 2024
Released March, 2023

Topics on this page: Objective 3.2: Strengthen early childhood development and expand opportunities to help children and youth thrive equitably within their families and communities | Objective 3.2 Table of Related Performance Measures


Objective 3.2: Strengthen early childhood development and expand opportunities to help children and youth thrive equitably within their families and communities

HHS invests in strategies to strengthen early childhood development opportunities to help children and youth thrive equitably within their families and communities. HHS fosters the physical, emotional, intellectual, language, and behavioral development of children and youth while supporting their families and caregivers. HHS implements interventions and multidisciplinary programs to enhance and support early childhood development and learning. HHS also focuses its efforts to improve early childhood development programs, systems, and linkages through the application of data, evidence, and lessons learned.

The Office of the Secretary leads this objective. The following divisions are responsible for implementing programs under this strategic objective: ACF, ACL, ASPE, CDC, CMS, FDA, HRSA, IHS, OASH, NIH, OGA, and SAMHSA. In consultation with OMB, HHS has determined that performance toward this objective is progressing. The narrative below provides a brief summary of progress made and achievements or challenges, as well as plans to improve or maintain performance.

Objective 3.2 Table of Related Performance Measures

Reduce the proportion of Head Start grantees receiving a score in the low range on the basis of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS: Pre-K). (Lead Agency - ACF; Measure ID - 3A)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target 24 % 15 % 17 % 15 % 16 % 16 % Prior Result -1PP Prior Result -1PP
Result 16 % 18 % 16 % 17 %  N/A28 N/A Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2025
Status Target Exceeded Target Not Met Target Exceeded Target Not Met N/A N/A Pending Pending

ACF strives to increase the percentage of Head Start children in high quality classrooms. Progress is measured by reducing the proportion of Head Start grant recipients scoring in the low range, below 2.5, in any domain of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS: Pre-K). This research-based tool measures teacher-child interaction on a seven-point scale in three broad domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. ACF began data collection using random samples for the CLASS: Pre-K in the first quarter of FY 2012. ACF assesses each Head Start grantee using the CLASS instrument during onsite monitoring reviews. This performance measure was developed to track the proportion of grant recipients receiving a score in the low range on the basis of the CLASS with the goal of decreasing that proportion over time.

Data from the FY 2014 CLASS reviews indicated that 23 percent of grant recipients are in the low range on any domain, exceeding the revised target. The most recent data from the FY 2020 CLASS reviews indicate that 17 percent of grant recipients scored in the low range, not meeting the target of 15 percent. The target set for FY 2021 is 16 percent, a one percent improvement from the FY 2020 result. However, there are no results for this performance measure in FY 2021 and FY 2022 since CLASS reviews were not conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The targets for FY 2023 and 2024 are also set to a one percentage decrease from the prior year result. In response to data from CLASS reviews, ACF is providing more intentional targeted assistance to those grant recipients that score in the low range on CLASS. ACF is flagging grant recipients that score in the low range, conducting more analysis on the specific dimensions within the Instructional Support domain that are particularly challenging for those grant recipients, and working more directly with those grant recipients on strategies for improvement.

Increase the percentage of Head Start preschool teachers with an AA, BA, or Advanced degree in early childhood education or a related field. (Lead Agency - ACF; Measure ID - 3C)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target 100% 100% 100% N/A 100% 100% 100% 100%
Result 95.6% 94.9% 94.8% N/A29 94.8% 94% Jan 31, 2024 Jan 31, 2025
Status Target Not Met Target Not Met Target Not Met Pending Target Not Met Target Not Met Pending Pending

Head Start grant recipients are required to develop plans to improve the qualifications of staff. Head Start has shown a steady increase in the number of Head Start teachers with an Associate Degree (AA), Bachelor’s Degree (BA), or advanced degrees in early childhood education. The Head Start reauthorization requires that all Head Start preschool center-based teachers have at least an AA degree or higher with evidence of the relevance of their degree and experience for early childhood education by October 1, 2011, thus the goal for each fiscal year through 2023 is to reach 100 percent. The most recent FY 2022 data indicates that 94 percent of Head Start teachers had an AA degree or higher, slightly missing the target, but remaining stable compared to the FY 2019 and FY 2021 actual resultx. Of the 38,692 Head Start preschool teachers in FY 2022, 34,506 had an AA degree or higher. Of these degreed teachers, 8,775 have an AA degree, 21,190 have a BA degree, and 4,541 have an advanced degree. Not included in these numbers are 1,181 teachers with a Child Development Associate (CDA) or state credential and 946 teachers who do not have a degree or CDA. About 22 percent of teachers without a BA or advanced degree are enrolled in a BA degree. ACF continues to provide training and technical assistance funds directly to grant recipients to increase the qualifications of teachers.

Maintain the proportion of youth living in safe and appropriate settings after exiting ACF-funded Transitional Living Program (TLP) services. (Lead Agency - ACF; Measure ID - 4A)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target 90 % 90 % 90 % 90 % 91 % 91 % 91 % 91%
Result 91.7 % 90 % 90 % 92 % 91.5 % Mar 31, 2023 Mar 31, 2024 Mar 31, 2025
Status Target Exceeded Target Met Target Met Target Exceeded Target Exceeded Pending Pending Pending

This annual performance measure pertains to safe and appropriate exit rates for youth from the Transitional Living Program (TLP). The TLP program provides shelter and services to meet the needs of homeless youth to promote long-term economic independence in order to ensure the well-being of the youth. All youth between the ages of 18 and 21 are eligible for up to 18 months of TLP services. This performance measure captures the percentage of TLP youth who are discharged from the program into an immediate living situation that is both safe and appropriate. This goal is achieved through the promotion and support of innovative strategies that help grantees to: 1) encourage youth to complete the program and achieve their developmental goals instead of leaving the program prior to completion; 2) stay connected with youth as they transition out of program residencies and provide preventive, follow-up, and aftercare services; 3) track exiting youth more closely; 4) report accurate data and maintain updated youth records to reduce the number of youth whose exit situations are unknown; and 5) analyze data to discover patterns of participation and opportunities for improved services. During FY 2021, the program exceeded the 91 percent target for this measure by attaining a 91.5 percent safe and appropriate exit rate. Because safe and stable housing is one of the core outcome areas, ACF proposes to maintain the target of 91 percent for FY 2024. ACF will continue to work to ensure appropriate service delivery and technical assistance systems are in place to support continued high performance on this performance measure.

Number of 0-8-year-old children screened for mental health or related interventions (Lead Agency - SAMHSA; Measure ID - 2.4.00)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target 44,775 18,554 18,554 11,497 8,700 8,500 22,000 29,000
Result 18,554 27,922 12,390 8,788 8,573 25,427 Dec 31, 2024 N/A
Status Target Not Met Target Exceeded Target Not Met Target Not Met Target Not Met Target Exceeded Pending Not Collected

Established in 2008, Project LAUNCH is a national grant program that seeks to promote the wellness of young children from birth to eight years of age by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development. In 2018, SAMHSA funded a cohort of 14 Indigenous LAUNCH grants. This cohort includes sites of varying population size and capacity in Indian Country, two large Alaskan Native Organizations, and the Virgin Islands. A required activity for Project LAUNCH is to conduct screening and assessment to ensure the early identification of behavioral and developmental concerns using validated screening instruments; to include screening for other behavioral health issues, such as perinatal/maternal depression and substance misuse among parents (including opioid use), as appropriate. Each Project LAUNCH local pilot community implements a set of “5 Core Strategies” that bring evidence-based mental health practices and expertise into the natural settings of early childhood. Grantees identify the evidence-based practices to implement for their population of focus.

The grantee reviews data on the number of children screened from previous years. For the following year, the grantee establishes a target of numbers of children that will be screened during each project year. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced the LAUNCH grantees’ ability to reach and engage participants in the program. This impacted the grantee’s ability to meet their expected targets in 2020.

Number of participants served by the State/Jurisdiction Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. (Lead Agency - HRSA; Measure ID - 3110.08)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 164,470 188,067
Result 156,29730,31 150,291 154,496 140,60632 140,67433 137,80234 Available January 2024 Available January 2025
Status N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Pending Pending Pending

Number of participants served by the Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. (Lead Agency - HRSA; Measure ID - 3110.09)
  FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 FY 2024
Target N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3,871 4,427
Result 3,456 3,751 3,428 3,315 3,508 3,498 Available January 2024 Available January 2025
Status N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Pending Pending Pending

HRSA’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services during pregnancy and to parents with young children up to kindergarten entry living in at-risk communities.

Despite the negative influence of COVID-19 on enrollment of families in 2021, and issues with home visitor workforce recruitment and retention, states reported serving more than 137,000 parents and children in over 1,000 counties across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories, representing more than a 300 percent increase in the number of participants served since FY 2012. MIECHV state and jurisdictional grantees provided more than 8.8 million visits from FY 2012 through FY 2022. In FY 2024, HRSA is increasing its target. The new requirement for matching grants beginning in FY 2024, as included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Public Law 117-328, Section 6101), may influence performance measure targets and results. HRSA will reevaluate performance measures in FY 2025.



Endnotes

28  Due to health concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, the FY 2021 and FY 2022 CLASS® reviews were not conducted.

29  Due to health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are no results to report for this performance measure in FY 2020.

30  Reflects changes HRSA made to reporting definitions beginning in FY 2017 clarifying that only participants whose services were directly supported with federal funds should be included in MIECHV reports.

31  Does not include data from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands due to reporting delays caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

32  FY 2020 results were impacted by funding reductions due to sequestration, the impacts of COVID-19 on enrollment and service delivery, and a reporting error in one state.

33  FY 2021 results were impacted by funding reductions due to sequestration and the impacts of COVID-19 on enrollment and service delivery.

34  FY 2022 results were impacted by funding reductions due to sequestration, the impacts of COVID-19 on enrollment and service delivery, and significant issues with workforce recruitment and retention across the early childhood care and education field.

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