Head Start and Early Head Start standards raised to increase quality and accountability


More than 150 agencies will receive grants to provide Head Start or Early Head Start services in their communities for the next five years according to an announcement made today by Office of Head Start (OHS) Director Yvette Sanchez Fuentes. The awardees were selected through a competition that compared existing Head Start grantees to other potential providers to determine which organizations could provide the best early education services to their communities.

“This competition raises the quality of Head Start programs across America,” said Director Sanchez Fuentes.  “We are holding every provider accountable to deliver high-quality comprehensive services to children and families, so we can continue to deliver on the promise Head Start makes to communities.”

As part of the Head Start reforms President Obama announced in 2011, 125 Head Start grantees that failed to meet a new set of rigorous benchmarks were required to compete for continued federal funding with other potential early childhood services providers in their communities.  Grantees that chose to compete for funding were required to demonstrate that they had corrected all deficiencies in a sustainable manner in order to be considered for funding for the next five years.  As part of this sweeping reform to the Head Start program, all grantees will be evaluated under transparent, research-based standards to ensure that programs are providing the highest quality services to children and families.

Source: Office of Head Start

Available at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/press/head-start-and-early-head-start-standards-raised-to-increase-quality-and

Evaluation of the Head Start Designation Renewal System


In the fall of 2011, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) significantly expanded its accountability provisions with the implementation of the Head Start Designation Renewal System (DRS). The DRS is designed to identify which Head Start and Early HeadStart grantees are providing high quality, comprehensive services to the children and families in their communities. Where they are not, grantees are denied automatic renewal of their grant and must apply for continuing funding through an open competition process. Determinations are based on seven conditions designed to measure service quality, program operational quality, and fiscal and internal integrity.

The ACF is proposing to conduct an evaluation of the DRS. The purpose of the evaluation is to understand if the DRS is working as intended, as a valid, reliable, and transparent method for identifying high-quality programs that can receive continuing five-year grants without competition and as a system that encourages overall program quality improvement. It also seeks to understand how the system is working, the circumstances in which it works more or less well, and the contextual, demographic, and program factors and program actions associated with how well the system is working. The study will employ a mixed-methods design that integrates and layers administrative and secondary data sources, observational measures, and interviews to develop a rich knowledge base about what the DRS accomplishes and how it does so.

Source: Federal Register, Volume 78 Issue 112

Available at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-06-11/html/2013-13716.htm

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

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/fiscal/financial-mgmt/budgets/ReducingCostsWh.htm

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

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/operations/mgmt-admin/planning/grant/faq.html

Head Start Program Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2012 – Head Start


Established in 1965, Head Start promotes school readiness for children in low-income families by offering educational, nutritional, health, social, and other services. Since its inception, Head Start has served more than 30 million children, birth to age 5, and their families. In 2012, Head Start was funded to serve nearly one million children and pregnant women in centers, family homes, and in family child care homes in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the nation.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/mr/factsheets/2012-hs-program-factsheet.html

National Center on Health Event: Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative Webinar

Learn More Hear and Now:

Introduction to Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Hearing Screening

Friday, June 21, 2013

Noon – 1 p.m. EDT

Each day, children with hearing loss attend Early Head Start programs. How will we identify who they are? Join Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) for a webinar on otoacoustic emissions (OAE) screening methods. Learn about appropriate hearing screening practices for children ages birth to 3 and how to implement them in your program.

Topics for this Webinar Include:

OAE hearing screening technology

How to establish effective hearing screening protocols in your program

Follow-up strategies for children who don’t pass hearing screening

A brief preview of the topic is available for viewing on demand

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will benefit an array of audience members, including: Early Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs working with children ages birth to 3; and those who support hearing screening activities at the state or community level for infants and toddlers.

How to Participate

Register early! This webinar is limited to 100 participants. Visit the June 21 Webinar Registration page to sign up. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the webinar.


Before the webinar, watch this six-minute Introduction to Periodic OAE Hearing Screening video. Send your questions to echo.ncham@usu.edu by 11 a.m. EDT on Friday, June 21.


Improving Father Engagement in Head Start and Early Head Start

ACF Administration for Childrenand Families
Log No. ACF-IM-HS-13-01.
Issuance Date: 06/04/20133.
Originating Office: Office of Head Start.
Key Words: Father Engagement

TO: Head Start and Early Head Start Grantee and Delegate Agencies

SUBJECT: Improving Father Engagement in Head Start and Early Head Start

INFORMATION:Head Start has a long history of focusing on fathers and father figures as important contributors to the school readiness of children and the well-being of families. Since 2004, when the Office of Head Start OHS introduced Building Blocks for Father Involvement to the Head Start community, many programs have continued to make their program environments more father-friendly and support fathers strengths, needs, and aspirations for themselves and their children.

Father engagement is not a stand-alone initiative, but rather a vital and integrated aspect of parent, family, and community engagement efforts in Head Start and Early Head Start. The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 identifies the importance of father engagement in particular for those communities participating in the designation renewal process. The Act refers to outreach to fathers and father figures and the inclusion of fathers in home visits and parent-teacher conferences. Section 641d2J [42 USC 9836] of the Act also refers to male participation in the program and to partnerships with male family members that strengthen their roles as parents and as educators of their children.

Source: Office of Head Start

Available at: http://hsicc.cmail1.com/t/ViewEmail/j/C83E154CFA5CA83A/694C7A9EDC54BD6444D0DD5392A9C75A

Father Engagement Week

June 3 – June 7, 2013

Fathers and male family members play an important role in the lives of their children, families, and Head Start and Early Head Start communities. To support program efforts to improve partnerships with fathers and the significant men in children’s lives, the Office of Head Start (OHS) will release new fatherhood resources June 3 – June 7. A new resource will be issued each day at noon on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC). Please be sure to register for the webinar on Tuesday, June 4 at 3 p.m. EDT.

Father Engagement Week on the ECLKC

Monday, June 3

  • Engaging Fathers, Enhancing Children’s Development, Enriching Families – A Message from Yvette Sanchez Fuentes
  • Father Figures Making a Difference – A blog post

Tuesday, June 4

Wednesday, June 5

  • Best Practices in Family and Community Engagement Video Series: Engaging Fathers, includes a staff learning exercise

Thursday, June 6

  • Las manos de apa, resources to support programs partnering with Latino fathers and their young children

Friday, June 7

  • Young Fathers video, includes a staff learning exercise

Register for the Webinar

In the webinar, Father Engagement Is Everybody’s Business!OHS introduces Head Start Father Engagement: A Birth to Five Programming Guide. Presenters will draw on the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework to identify systems and service strategies for effective father engagement.

Select the link to register: https://ncpfce.ilinc.com/register/wvzccpc

16th Annual Early Head Start & Infant/Toddler Conference

July 29 – 31, 2013


Presented by:
Early Childhood Training Center at Portland State University in partnership with:

  • The Office of Head Start – Region X
  • Region X Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Team, ICF International
  • The Early Head Start National Resource Center at Zero to Three
  • The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
  • WA State Association of Head Start and ECEAP Training Consortium
  • Oregon Head Start Association
  • Kaplan Early Learning Company
  • Lakeshore Learning materials

Pre-conference Day
Monday, July 29, 2013
Registration: $130

Full Conference
July 230-31, 2013
Registration: $350 ($300 for WA State Training Consortium current members)

Both events will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland, Oregon

Conference details:
Session Descriptions, Conference Schedule, and other conference information:  Please visit our website at pdx.edu/ceed/EHS-Conference and click on the links to the left.

Hotel Reservations:
The hotel reservation cut-off date is July 8, 2013. Be sure to mention the code EHS to receive the conference rate.  You can make reservations by calling 1-800-996-0510 or online.

The registration deadline is July 15, 2013. We will receive registrations after that date, but we cannot guarantee your choices for the breakout sessions. To register, please visit our website.

Please contact the Early Childhood Training Center at 503-725-4815.


Thanks for your patience… Early Childhood News Update will return in June of this year! In the meantime, note:

Office of Head Start 2nd National Birth to Five Leadership Institute, April 28 – 30, 2013

Early Head Start National Resource Center (EHSNRC) Virtual Birth to Three, May 28 – June 27th, 2013

40th Annual National Head Start Association Conference, April 30 – May 3rd, 2013