Request for Proposals: Infant and Toddler Workforce Research

June 4, 2018

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The New York City Early Childhood Research Network (the Research Network) was established in 2015 to bring researchers and policymakers together to investigate and improve early childhood program quality in New York City. The Research Network is committed to generating actionable research that can provide timely data to help City officials with the implementation of New York City's early care and education system. In our work, we have three objectives: identify and promote research opportunities, disseminate research to inform policy and practice, and build the community and capacity of researchers in New York City dedicated to rigorous applied research to inform policy and practice. With initial investments from the Foundation for Child Development, eight research projects examining the implementation of PreK for All are underway. The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, which facilitates the Research Network, has secured new funds for research focused on the NYC workforce that supports children from birth through age three.

In New York City, the infant and toddler workforce is vast. Our youngest children are routinely cared for in a wide variety of settings by people with a range of qualifications, education, and experience. In addition to parental care, children from birth through age three may be in informal care arrangements in which family members, friends, and neighbors provide care, or they may be in licensed family child care homes or community-based child care centers. Infants and toddlers may also receive early intervention, preschool special education, or home visiting services. The NYC Administration for Children's Services, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Education all play significant roles in funding and administering these services and supporting the infant-toddler workforce. The funding available in this opportunity aims to contribute to the work of the City officials in these agencies as they strive to provide our youngest children with access to excellent care.

With this RFP, we intend to make two awards for research projects that deepen our understanding of the infant and toddler workforce. The Research Network has several principles that will inform our selection process. First, we are committed to rigorous research that produces actionable policy recommendations to support our City agency partners' work. Second, we believe that various forms of inquiry are needed to understand and improve the implementation of policy and we welcome qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research proposals. Third, we are committed to collaboration and therefore grantees will be expected to share research protocols and deidentified quantitative data within the Research Network. Finally, we aim to build the City's research capacity to investigate and improve early childhood policy and therefore encourage proposals that include racially, linguistically, and socio-economically diverse research teams as well as early career scholars.

We are interested in supporting research projects that will address at least one of the following topics:

  1. Infant and toddler educators' and leaders' career pathways and professional development. Studies may provide descriptive data about qualifications, experience, and well-being of infant-toddler educators and identify effective interventions to build the qualifications of the infant-toddler workforce at scale. Studies may investigate all infant-toddler educators or focus on a segment of the workforce, such as home-based family child care provider and leaders.
  2. The quality and effectiveness of professional learning opportunities available for infant-toddler educators and leaders, in centers and/or in home-based family child care settings. In particular, studies may explore the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, higher education coursework, coaching opportunities, and other interventions that aim to enhance infant-toddler quality and practice. Studies can explore relationships between interventions and quality measures and also identify strategies to expand access to effective strategies.
  3. >Other topics related to infant-toddler care may be proposed, such as:
    1. Infant-toddler care quality: Studies may describe the quality of practice that infants and toddlers experience in New York City, including the identification of key measures of quality and the expertise and conditions that enhance quality.
    2. Early Intervention and preschool special education: Identify effective strategies to enhance Early Intervention referral rates and facilitate the transition between Early Intervention and preschool special education services.
    3. Families' decisions about infant-toddler care: Identify the factors that drive families' infant-toddler care choices, such as access and affordability, and how those factors differ by neighborhood characteristics and families' demographic backgrounds.

We expect to make awards decisions by September 15, 2018 and anticipate that data collection will begin in the fall of 2018. We intend to offer two awards that will range from $50,000 to $175,000. Awardees will need to enter into a sub-award agreement with the Research Foundation of CUNY.

We advise you to draft your application in Word and then cut/paste it into this application. The application fields are character-limited and include spaces. In general, 3,200 characters represent about one page, and 1,600 characters represent a half page. Brevity and clarity are appreciated. Therefore, it is not necessary to use the maximum allotted characters to answer each question.

The submission period for this RFP has ended.
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All submissions are due by Wednesday, August 15th at 5pm EST