Grant Advisors Ray Sweeney and Frank Klimko have been watching the Head Start funding programs at the Health & Human Services Department with great interest. The HHS recently issued new guidance to help communities re-allocate their approved Head Start funding to support Early Head Start and other early education programs for underserved and disadvantaged children.
There has been a dramatic shift at the local level over the past few years with states and local governments picking up more of the tab for public pre-K programs, according to the guidance from the HHS Office of Head Start and Admin. for Children and Families. This usually means that more Head Start slots go vacant as parents send their children to other programs.
However, that money doesn’t have to go unused, and Head Start regulations allow for broad flexibility in the re-programming of previously authorized funding.
Head Start grantees may request conversion of funded enrollment slots and a proportionate reallocation of funds from Head Start to Early Head Start.
The request for conversion of enrollment slots, whether included in the refunding application or a separate grant amendment, must include:
A grant application budget and a budget narrative that clearly identifies the funding amount for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs before and after the proposed conversion.
The results of the community assessment demonstrating how the proposed use of funds would best meet the needs of the community.
A revised program schedule that describes the proposed program option and the number of funded enrollment slots for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs before and after the proposed conversion.
A description of how the needs of pregnant women, infants, and toddlers will be addressed. A discussion of the agency’s capacity to carry out an effective Early Head Start program and assurances that the agency will participate in training and technical assistance activities required of all Early Head Start grantees.
A discussion of the qualifications and competencies of the child development staff proposed for the Early Head Start program, as well as a description of the facilities and program infrastructure that will be used to support the new or expanded Early Head Start program.
The proposed timetable for implementing the conversion.
Indian/Alaska Native Guidance
HHS offers special provisions for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) grantees. An AIAN grantee that operates both an Early Head Start program and a Head Start program may reallocate funds between the Early Head Start program and the Head Start program at its discretion and at any time during the grant period involved. However, the AIAN grantees are asked to notify the OHS Regional Office prior to the effective date of such reallocation.