FPG Wins New Award for the Early Childhood Systems TA Center

Date Published: 09/18/2017

an announcement from the ECTA Center

UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) will continue to provide technical assistance (TA) to improve services and results for children with disabilities and their families through a new award for the Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center. The new award, funded by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Department of Education, will continue and build on the work of the current Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) to support programs that serve young children with disabilities and their families, birth to five years. 

The purpose of the new center is to increase the capacity of State Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Coordinators and Programs so that states implement high-quality systems and deliver high-quality services to young children with disabilities and their families. The TA Center will assist state leaders in building more effective and sustainable state systems that provide high-quality services and inclusive learning opportunities that improve outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.

“We are excited to continue FPG’s long history of providing effective technical assistance to state EI and ECSE programs, and to take on some new challenges to meet the needs of the field,” said Christina Kasprzak, principal investigator on the project. 

“There is a growing number of children under the age of 6 years old in the U.S. in need of high quality early intervention and preschool special education services," said Kasprzak. "While our knowledge of brain science and research has vastly increased in the last few decades, states continue to be challenged by a variety of issues related to implementing state and local systems that support the best possible services for these young children with disabilities and their families. The new center will work on building the capacity of state leaders, supporting improvement of state and local infrastructure, addressing barriers to inclusion, and supporting local implementation of evidence-based practices with fidelity.”

Kasprzak, current director of the Early Childhood TA Center, has formed a national team of researchers and TA providers to implement this project. In partnership with FPG, there are six nationally renowned entities:  SRI International (SRI), University of Colorado at Denver (UCD), University of South Florida (USF), the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights (PACER), Walsh Taylor Associates, and the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children. 

“Our team of national partners has unmatched expertise and experience related to building state and local capacity to implement quality programs for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families,” said FPG’s Megan Vinh, co-principal investigator.  “We have a team that understands high-quality EI and ECSE systems and evidence-based practices, appreciates the current context and barriers that state and local leaders face, has established relationships with state partners, and is skilled in providing effective technical assistance.” 

Kasprzak and Vinh's team will consist of highly experienced and capable national leaders, including: Betsy Ayankoya and Joan Danaher, FPG scientists, as well as Kathleen Hebbeler, SRI, Barbara Smith, UCD, and Lise Fox, USF. 

The $23 million dollar project begins November 1, 2017, and will extend through October 2022.

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Helping Children of All Abilities: FPG Celebrates 30 Years of Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education