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Technical Assistance

FPG's Technical Assistance (TA) specialists are dedicated to building system capacity to implement evidence-based practices and, ultimately, ensure optimal outcomes, for the most vulnerable young children―including those with, or at risk for, disabilities, who have experienced trauma, and who live in poverty―and their families. Technical assistance is a collaborative and coordinated approach to facilitating change that focuses on building the capacity of individuals, organizations, and systems, and ultimately, achieving agreed-upon outcomes.

Featured People

Jessica Amsbary

Jessica Amsbary

Jessica Amsbary, PhD, is a technical assistance specialist at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute where she engages in research and development related to STEM innovations for young children with disabilities and supporting provider and family use of evidence-based practices for toddlers with autism. She is also the Program Coordinator of the Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support (ECIFS) Master’s Degree in Education for Experienced Teachers program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her primary research is focused on family support initiatives related to very young children with autism and other developmental delays and applying principles of implementation science to ensure early interventions are meeting the needs of families and their children.

Thomas McGhee

Thomas McGhee

Thomas McGhee, MSW, is a technical assistance specialist with the Early Childhood TA (ECTA) Center within the Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. With more than 27 years of experience with organizations that serve children and families in need, he's worked in a variety of settings providing direct services, developing employees, managing programs, leading agencies, and evaluating programs. Prior to joining ECTA, he served as the director of a local Part C North Carolina program for 13 years where he was involved in many local and state initiatives including SSIP related activities, family engagement, family focus groups, and family outcomes. In addition, McGhee has served for 19 years on the Smart Start Board of Directors in various roles.

Featured Projects


The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) supports Part C and Section 619 coordinators and staff to implement high-quality EI/ECSE systems and increase implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs) to improve outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. The Center focuses on building leadership capacity of state coordinators and staff to implement IDEA programs and collaborate across broader early childhood; increasing access to high-quality inclusive programs for children with disabilities; and building state and local capacity to implement EBPs.


STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMIE) aims to develop and enhance knowledge of the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation in STEM for young children with disabilities. STEMIE's expected outcomes include: increased body of knowledge of current EBPs for STEM learning; increased use of STEM EBPs by early childhood programs, providers, and families to promote access and participation for young children with disabilities; increased awareness by faculty in IHEs of STEM learning for young children with disabilities; and increased focus and integration of early STEM EBPs into IHE programs of study.

Operating Principles

Equity and inclusion for all young children

FPG technical assistance specialists support efforts to address issues of equity in health and education. We actively work toward creating systems and services that include children at risk for delays and with disabilities in their communities, schools, homes, and other environments.

Positive outcomes for young children and their families

FPG technical assistance specialists focus on building high-quality systems and services that result in positive outcomes for infants, toddlers, and young children at risk of delays or with disabilities and their families. We understand evidence-based practices in early childhood and support administrators, trainers, faculty, teachers, and providers to implement those practices that help children reach their potential. 

State and local system capacity

FPG technical assistance specialists understand the essential role of state and local infrastructure for ensuring that high-quality services are delivered to support children and families. Our technical assistance strategies address infrastructure components to ensure that leadership and policies, personnel, funding, standards, accountability, and data systems are aligned.

Translation of research into practice

FPG technical assistance specialists understand and implement effective technical assistance that is based on research and evaluation. We provide differentiated technical assistance that incorporates adult learning principles, systems change principles, implementation science, improvement science, and strategies from evaluation and data-driven decision making.

Featured Products


CONNECT Modules are free resources designed for faculty and professional development providers to support practitioners in becoming confident in including children with disabilities. Each module is focused on a particular research-based practice with an emphasis on inclusive settings and meeting the needs of diverse learners. The modules are designed to build early childhood practitioners’ critical thinking skills. These modules are hosted by the Division for Early Childhood to sustain and ensure the modules can continue to make an impact in the field.

Learn more about CONNECT Modules.

Inclusion Institute

The International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute is a premier educational opportunity for anyone involved in the care and education of young children with special needs in inclusive settings. For more than 20 years, complete with dozens of world-class experts, dozens of groundbreaking sessions, free courses for CEUs, and an enduring impact, the Inclusion Institute has drawn people from across the country and around the globe. Participants learn about current research findings, models, and resources to guide inclusive policy, professional development, and practice; develop collaborative relationships and cross-agency systems to support early childhood inclusion; and meet, learn from, and problem solve with peers.

Featured Resource

COVID-19 Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a challenging time for everyone, especially for children and families who found themselves navigating shifts and disruptions in the trusted routines, services, and schedules they typically rely on. During the pandemic, our researchers, implementation and technical assistance specialists, faculty fellows, students, and staff actively responded to the needs of families, educators, and other professionals by developing and offering evidence-based, user-friendly COVID-19 resources and information.

More about our work