Funding Forecast Now Out for DRS Round III: Who's at Risk?

- Katherine Molina-Powell, VP, Training & Business Development

Right before the deadline for the main round of EHS-CCP grants, the HHS funding forecast was quietly updated to reflect anticipated posting dates for 110 new Head Start, Early Head Start, and Migrant/Seasonal HS/EHS grants, largely related to DRS Round III. The Forecast list now shows several updates from the main list of “affected grantees” released in the spring – including several holdovers from 2013 rounds of competition, and a number of grants currently operated by CDI. All grants are expected to be released on Monday, September 15th and are due just before Thanksgiving on November 24th. 

At Shine Early Learning, we have been interested in developing a nuanced understanding of the true competitive hurdle that existing grantees--and potential challengers--face in any given competition. Our extensive experience helping both incumbent and challenger programs through the DRS program has taught us that not all competitions are alike: some grantees, despite ending up “on the list,” are actually strong programs with deep community roots, while others have demonstrated evidence of systemic challenges that indicate a much greater vulnerability to competing organizations.

In order to better understand the competitive landscape presented by DRS Round III, our analysis team has developed a tiered ranking system that we are calling the DRS Risk Assessment, examining the competitive position of individual grantees affected by this upcoming round of re-competition. Our DRS Risk Assessment rankings are calculated based on the number (and severity) of immediate deficiencies and the number of CLASS indicators scored in the bottom 10% of programs reviewed, and are then weighted by amount of funding available, since many of the grants that have been lost or divided in the previous two rounds of competitions have skewed larger than average.

What do these “Risk Assessment” rankings mean?

The DRS Risk Assessment is a helpful tool to allow us to understand where grantee transition--and potentially fierce competition--is likely to crop up in the next several months of grant development work. While all of these grants are competitive--which means even the smallest and “least-at-risk” grantee on this list could technically lose to a challenger--a combination of the public records available on grantee performance and our lessons from the previous two rounds of DRS results allows us to focus in on where the most competitive action is likely to happen this fall. With that in mind, we did not include service areas currently operating under CDI in this ranking list.

Below are the top five states that had the most programs “at risk” based on our analysis: 

* Estimated Number of Children Affected and DRS Risk Assessment rankings do not count programs currently operating under CDI.

Is your organization affected by DRS or considering applying for a grant? Do you want to know your risk assessment score, or talk more about the competitive landscape in your service area? Call or email us to set up a free strategy review session to best understand your agency’s strengths and weaknesses heading into DRS Round III.