About 75% of underperforming Head Start programs that were forced to re-compete for federal funding successfully defended their operations and were again awarded grants from the HHS Admin. for Children & Families.
Last year, 124 Head Start grantees who did not meet quality thresholds established by the ACF Office of Head Start were notified they had to compete with other potential providers for continued Head Start funding. After submitting competitive applications, successfully demonstrating their ability to deliver high quality Head Start services, 90 of the 124 existing grantees were awarded grants to provide Head Start services for at least part of the service area they previously held, says Laura Goulding, ACF spokeswoman.
All competitors had to submit proposals detailing how they would achieve Head Start’s goal of delivering high-quality early childhood services, Golding says. Head Start and Early Head Start programs enroll about 1 million children nationally.
The re-competition process is part of the HHS Designation Renewal System (DRS) to determine whether Head Start and Early Head Start agencies deliver high-quality comprehensive services, she said. DRS established five year grant periods for all Head Start service awards, with many agencies receiving further five-year grants without competing for funding. An agency that meets a specified condition during the course of the grant period is not automatically renewed, and is instead required to compete for further funding in that service area, she says.
Programs can be singled out for re-competition because they had: (1) their licenses revoked; (2) fiscal or management issues preventing them from properly managing federal funds; or (3) deficiencies discovered in their on-site federal monitoring review, ACF says. Additionally, grantees who scored in the lowest 10th percentile of all Head Start centers receiving a classroom quality evaluation in their on-site federal monitoring review can be scheduled for re-competition.