The Balancing Act: Reducing Costs While Maintaining Quality – Head Start


This webinar presents a process to assist grantees in thinking through and communicating about budget reductions. The process supports grantees in making decisions focused on their program and community. It also emphasizes the use of data to make budget decisions. Viewers are encouraged to forecast and evaluate consequences of different options.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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Head Start Sequestration Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Head Start

  • What fiscal year does the sequestration affect?
  • As a grantee, how do I know what fiscal year (FY) funds I am currently operating?
  • What is the exact amount of the sequester reduction?
  • What flexibility does the Office of Head Start have in making reductions?
  • What flexibilities do programs have to absorb the sequester reduction?
  • Can programs reduce enrollment?
  • If we have Head Start and Early Head Start, do we have to take equal cuts across both programs?
  • Will the reduction be taken on the extensions through June 30, 2013 for current grantees in competition through Designation Renewal System (DRS)?
  • Is this a temporary cut?
  • What guidance can we expect from our Regional Offices and what will be required of us moving forward?
  • Will sequestration delay or stop the Designation Renewal System (DRS)?
  • Will sequestration stop monitoring?
  • Will it be allowable for grantees to combine positions at the administrative level to absorb the cuts?
  • If grantees have to make quick changes in their programs to implement the reduced funding level, and we can only do it by making program cuts, will we have some relief on the allowable administrative rate requirement (15 percent)?
  • Is it allowable to shorten the number of weeks per year for home-based programs this program year?
  • Are there special issues full-year programs need to consider?
  • Can grantees use training and technical assistance (T/TA) funding for operations?

Source: Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center

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Power to the Preschoolers


“Spread the word about President Obama’s plan to provide high-quality preschool for every kid in America,” twittered the White House on Wednesday. We all know that nothing on the planet compares to the awesome power of social media. But it may require more than a hashtag to bring this one home.

You may remember that earlier this spring, the president unveiled a budget plan that included a big initiative on early childhood education. Universal pre-K for 4-year-olds! More programs for low-income infants and toddlers! Big push for higher quality! And to help pay for it all, a new 94-cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes.

Everybody was so excited. “This is going to be wonderful,” said former Vice President Walter Mondale. (We will stop here for one minute and recall that when Mondale was in the Senate, he successfully led a bipartisan effort to make quality preschool programs available to every American family. Then Richard Nixon vetoed the bill. Flash forward 42 years, and here we are, backward.)

But about Obama’s plan. How could this not work out? The nation’s fabled upward mobility has come to a screeching halt because low-income kids start behind in kindergarten and never catch up. Nobody has come up with a better idea for fixing the problem than early childhood education.

Source: The New York Times

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President Proposes Smart and Urgent Investment with Early Learning Plan

The Academic Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recently called child poverty: “the most important problem facing children in the US today.” Nearly half of our youngest children, under age 6, live in households earning less than twice the federal poverty level, or $23,550 for a family of four. From children’s earliest days, public investments fall far short of meeting their needs. And for both low- and middle-income families, the public safeguards and supports that have buttressed them during challenging times now face serious threats. Cuts under the federal budget sequester are in place and will get worse in future years. The country’s safety net, which has deteriorated from having gaping holes to now being nearly shredded, is insufficient to help those who lost jobs and income in the recent recession.

This disinvestment in programs to help low-income families is not without consequence. Poverty robs young children of the developmental and educational inputs they need during a critical period of early development. The result: increasing numbers of children arriving in kindergarten without the fundamental skills they need for success in school and in life. With more children in households falling out of the middle class, we cannot afford, as a country, to ignore this crisis any longer.

We can do much to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in this country. And central to nearly every serious plan is a significant investment in child care and early education.The long term effects of high-quality early education for disadvantaged children have been well-documented. The return on investment has been calculated. The positive impact on the economy has been quantified. Economists, educators, business leaders, and policymakers alike have recognized the significant need for and substantial benefits of affordable, quality child care and early education for both children and parents.

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy

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Kids’ Share 2012: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2011

Kids’ Share 2012: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2011, a sixth annual report, looks comprehensively at trends over the past 50 years in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that the size and composition of expenditures on children have changed considerably, but children have not been a budget priority. In 2011, federal outlays on children fell for the first time since the early 1980s, dropping from $378 billion in 2010 to $376 billion. Over the next decade, outlays on children are projected to decline from 10 to 8 percent of the federal budget.

Source: Urban Institute

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2012 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax benefit for people who work but don’t earn much money. EITC can make life a little easier for qualifying families in Head Start and Early Head Start by reducing their taxes. The credit can result in families receiving up to $5,751 when they file their federal tax return.

There are several ways you can support Head Start and Early Head Start families to determine their eligibility and apply for EITC:

  • Ten Ways Early Childhood Programs Can Promote The Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit [PDF, 20KB] provides strategies to raise awareness about EITC that are specific to the early childhood community.
  • Free tax preparation assistance is available at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites within the United States. Programs can find VITA sites in the communities they serve and encourage eligible families to use these sites to apply for EITC.
  • A message from the IRS: Read Tax Scam Warning: Beware of Phony Refund Scheme Abusing Popular College Tax Credit; Senior Citizens, Working Families and Church Members Are Targets. The article is available in English [PDF, 31KB] and Spanish [PDF, 44KB]. IRS YouTube videos on this topic are available in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL):

    Tax Tips: Tax Refund Scams: English | Spanish | ASL

For more information about EITC, visit the Early Head Start Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) at Life’s a Little Easier with EITC.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Head Start Providers Stand to Lose Funding


Concerns are mounting that strict new federal rules meant to improve the quality of Head Start preschool services for poor children could drive good providers out of business, as scores of Head Start programs begin to face the specter of losing the federal funding they have received for decades.

Under regulations that were announced late last year by President Barack Obama, agencies that fall short of the new federal quality standards for the Head Start program have to compete with other potential providers for funding, rather than automatically qualifying for it. The federal Office of Head Start announced in late December that 132 of the roughly 1,600 local providers of Head Start across the nation had failed to meet that quality bar and, for the first time ever, must compete.

Source: Education Week

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PI 12-02 Non-Federal Share Issues – Head Start

The Head Start Act mandates that the Federal share of the total costs of the Head Start program will not exceed 80 percent of the total grantee budget unless a waiver has been granted (Head Start Act Section 640(b)). If the grantee agency fails to obtain and adequately document the required 20 percent non-Federal share (or other approved match) a disallowance of Federal funds may be taken. Non-Federal share must meet the same criteria for allowability as other costs incurred and paid with Federal funds.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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A legacy of giving our children a Head Start – The Hill’s Congress Blog


As we reflect on how U.S. presidents have influenced the course of our national life, their consistent support for serving at-risk children exemplifies the true American spirit.

For more than 45 years, presidents have recognized the value of investing in our most vulnerable children by supporting the Head Start vision.  Established by President Johnson in 1965 to tackle the achievement gap among low-income children, Head Start served 560,000 children in its first summer. Johnson said of Head Start’s first success that it was a symbol “of this nation’s commitment to the goal that no American Child shall be condemned to failure by accident of birth.” Since then, Head Start has launched more than 27 million young lives onto a pathway to success and now serves nearly one million children each year.

Source: The Hill’s Congress Blog

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Una infancia en el huerto – Head Start

Un día de primavera, temprano por la mañana, el familiar ruido de un tractor interrumpe el murmullo de la clase. Los niños voltean la cabeza, y enseguida se aglomeran en las ventanas. “Es el granjero John”, gritan a coro en cuanto lo ven. Podemos salir y ver lo que está haciendo?”. Una infancia en el huerto» [PDF, 698KB]

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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