The Early Childhood Personnel Center (ECPC) was established in January 2013. Funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, our Center serves as a national, multi-functional resource to address the challenges faced in the Early Childhood (EC) workforce. These include but are not limited to:
- Discrepancies with state adherence to national competencies and standards
- Shortages of personnel
- A lack of training at both the pre-service and in-service levels
- Inequities of preparation and compensation among those providing services
Therefore, the ECPC was designed to provide Knowledge Generation, Technical Assistance (TA) & Dissemination, and/or Leadership & Coordination for states in addressing these concerns and challenges of the EC workforce. Specifically, we operate using evidence-based practices that assist in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) systems for children ages birth to five years old who qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Our mission is to facilitate the development, implementation and evaluation of integrated and comprehensive systems of personnel development (CSPD) for the early childhood workforce serving infants and young children with disabilities eligible for Part C and Part B(619) programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (IDEA).
The purpose of the Early Childhood Personnel TA Center is to support States in developing, implementing and evaluating integrated and comprehensive ECI systems of personnel development so that all infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families receive effective early childhood intervention.
- Infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families make optimal progress when all interventions are delivered consistently with fidelity across early childhood providers from different professional disciplines and settings.
- The early childhood workforce must be provided high quality learning opportunities and materials through coordinated pre-service and in-service programs that focus on the implementation of recommended intervention practices for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families.
- A common set of evidence-based, measurable, and authentic early childhood intervention (ECI) personnel standards across professional disciplines is a necessary component of effective systems of personnel development for those serving infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families.
- Personnel preparation and professional development agencies that provide training, licensure, and evaluation of the early childhood workforce must have knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices in both early childhood intervention and adult learning.
- A comprehensive system of personnel development for the ECI workforce is a necessary and integral quality indicator of an early childhood service system.
Our Center’s Programs & Framework
Our Center is focused around the awareness that an integrated, comprehensive system of personnel development for the EC workforce in every state - one that is cohesive with the state and national personnel standards, competencies, and recommended practices, will produce the most successful outcomes for children and families with disabilities.
Our Center has four main objectives:
- Serve as a national resource on personnel standards, competencies, and recommended practices (Knowledge Generation)
- Assist states in aligning personnel standards to national professional organization standards for personnel who serve children with disabilities and their families, integrating those standards with standards for EC personnel of all children, and linking those standards to state competencies and certification or licensure requirements (Leadership & Coordination & Technical Assistance programs)
- Assist state agencies and IHEs (Institutes of Higher Education) in partnering to align pre-service and in-service training for personnel serving children with disabilities and their families (Leadership & Coordination & Technical Assistance programs)
- Assist states to integrate EC professional development systems to ensure that IDEA Part C and Part B programs and personnel in each state are included in the state’s professional development initiatives (Technical Assistance)
Our Knowledge Generation component is completed by ECPC staff & faculty renowned in the field of Early Childhood Education. Our Technical Assistance and Leadership & Coordination programs are structured to operate at the state level, being guided by an ECPC trained Leadership and/or Technical Assistance Consultant. These programs require a diverse set of state participants in order to ensure all perspectives are being considered when forming a CSPD.
ECPC Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework that describes the scope and depth of ECPC consists of six rings circling the heart of the model, which is improved child and family outcomes.
The first ring of the model depicts the early childhood workforce, which is made up of all types of early childhood professionals who directly affect children’s development, and family well-being. A competent early childhood workforce is built by systematically infusing quality early childhood practices into services and programs for children and families, which is described in the second ring. High quality practices, services, and programs are achieved through coordinated statewide CSPD, which are comprised of six subcomponents; leadership, personnel standards, recruitment and retention of personnel, preservice personnel development, in-service personnel development, and evaluation. These subcomponents can be found in the third ring and are the critical components that ECPC builds the work of its center around.
ECPC works to establish state CSPDs by building knowledge and offering universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance to state leadership teams, through evidenced based resources, materials and tools as represented on the fourth ring. The breadth for the work of the center is expanded through collaboration with a variety of stakeholders across the field of early childhood including; higher education, other technical assistance centers; and personnel professional organizations. Collaboration occurs through joint participation in the validation, and dissemination of assessments, products and trainings which target effective practices that lead to a high quality, competent early childhood workforce, as located on the fifth ring. This broad, complex, and in-depth work is held together with a comprehensive management system that includes center directors, and staff, as well as contractors, and consultants from across the country. This sixth ring of the framework places a strong emphasis on the use of evaluation to monitor, and inform data based decision making, with both internal and external sources of evaluation.
In the Framework Model below, our program participants are displayed across the bottom, with our three main programs and evaluation across the top. The left hand side of the model portrays the areas in which all three programs are centered. Each participant’s discipline is a key component in working through all focus areas to ensure an integrated, comprehensive system of personnel development is established.
• U.S. Department of Education & OSEP
• UConn UCEDD & Neag School of Education
• ECPC Faculty & Staff
• PBIS, CEC/DEC Association Support
• Advisory Partnership & Support (AUCD, CEC, DEC, NAEYC, Part C & B/619, CBER, PBIS, HECSE, ITCA, NASCSE, NASTEC, CCSSO, DaSy, NAECSSDE, NHSA, NRCP, Consortia, & others)
• External Evaluators
• Knowledge Development
• Technical Assistance & Dissemination
• Leadership & Coordination
• Project Evaluation
• Short Term – knowledge & skills obtained
• Intermediate – implementation and integration of aligned standards & CSPD reported
• Long Term – positive outcomes are reported for children and families with disabilities