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ECI Area Boards Responding to COVID-19

The ECI State Board adopted this guidance document on April 3, 2020 in response to local decisions to be made in response to the public health pandemic. 

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Iowa Law Requirements for ECI

256I.6 Early childhood Iowa areas. The purpose of an early childhood Iowa area is to enable local citizens to lead collaborative efforts involving early care, education, health, and human services on behalf of the children, families, and other citizens residing in the area. Leadership functions may include but are not limited to strategic planning for and oversight and managing of such programs and the funding made available to the early childhood Iowa area for such programs from federal, state, local, and private sources. The focus of the area shall be to achieve the desired results and to improve other results for families with young children.

256I.2 2. The purpose of creating the early childhood Iowa initiative is to empower individuals, communities, and state level partners to achieve the desired results. The desired results will be achieved as private and public entities work collaboratively.

Public Health Emergency Impacting Early Childhood programming in Iowa Communities

The public health emergency, COVID-19, is dramatically impacting the operations of programs and services funded by ECIA boards beginning March 9, 2020. The impacts may cause a reduction or change in services and programs provided. In response to the public health emergency, ECIA boards are encouraged to review and adapt in order to respond to changing needs in the community for early care, health and education services.

ECI Area Boards Role

ECI areas are encouraged to utilize their funding and other resources to support children ages 0-5 and their families and the multiple programs and services that work with those children and families. As during regular times, ECI area boards should be strategizing with community partners and leaders on how best to address priorities, support programming during this time.
The ECI State Board recognizes that area boards must also have continuous, open correspondence with their funded contractors as well as other community partners. This will assist in determining how services are being adapted, if there is a pause or adaptation in service delivery, and plans for moving forward with those contractors. In turn, this will help the ECI Area board determine if changes in how funds are being invested needs to be considered.

If the area board determines that a budget change is required, the ECI State Board encourages transparency. ECI Area boards are to be consistent with the adopted procedures locally as a part of their public meeting and also at the state-level for submitting a budget amendment request. When submitting a request, please contact the ECI State Office through email and utilizing the Iowa Grants system with the request. The ECI State Office will respond to all requests as a high priority item and expedite as soon as possible.

The ECI Technical Assistance Team Role

During this time, the ECI TA Team shall provide additional opportunities to learn from other ECI Areas, to hear from state-level and regional-level leadership on emerging issues and needs. Increased information sharing is encouraged as all adapt and respond to this crisis. Questions are to be shared with the ECI TA Team and discussed during information sharing sessions. It is the hope of the ECI State Board that this will assist ECI Area Boards in their role to respond to local needs.