House Education and Labor Hearing on GAO Investigation of Head Start Programs On Tuesday May 18, 2010, Chairman Miller of the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on findings by the Government Accountability Office ("GAO"), the investigative arm of Congress, about selected Head Start programs' eligibility determinations. Gregory Kutz of the GAO testified, as did HHS' Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Carmen Nazario. A video of the hearing and both of their testimonies are available here. Based on 2 "whistleblower" hotline calls, the GAO investigated 2 Head Start programs and then went undercover into 13 other centers across the country to test eligibility practices. In those additional centers, the GAO alleges it found 8 instances of improper practices.
We are certain that the issues raised in the GAO testimony will cause programs across the country to undergo additional scrutiny - from Congress, ACF, the media, and the general public. Please see the NHSA section below for our response on this issue. Also, given the additional scrutiny on programs, now is a good time for your program to review the testimony, the Office of Head Start's recent Program Instruction, and their eligibility determination procedures and practices. It is also important to ensure that your front line eligibility workers receive adequate training. See below for a webinar opportunity from the Head Start Legal Advisory Service on this topic.
Usually by this time in the Congressional Calendar, Congress has passed a Budget Resolution and is actively working to create appropriations bills within the budget targets. However, as we have mentioned in previous updates, Congress has not passed a budget resolution yet and the chances of one passing this year have become increasingly slim. Without a Budget Resolution, that would establish appropriation targets or limits, the Congressional Appropriations Committees are likely to do one of two things:
So, what does this mean for the President's Budget, Head Start's FY 2011 Appropriation and the expansion slots funded through the ARRA?
If the House and Senate create a regular appropriations bill (Option 1), they will probably use numbers similar to those set out in the President's FY 2011 Budget. However, given the country's mood towards our national budget/national debt, indications are strong that Congress will likely use target numbers much lower than those set in the President's Budget. If Congress decides to use a Continuing Resolution (Option 2), it would mean that Head Start would likely continue its overall funding as identified in the FY 2010 Appropriation. Unfortunately, this may or may not include the requested funding increase to sustain the ARRA expansion slots. NHSA staff has been working extremely hard with Congress, the Obama Administration, and other National Organizations on the FY 2011 Head Start Appropriation. You should be prepared that as soon as Congress identifies how they will address the FY 2011 Appropriation, NHSA WILL NEED HELP FROM EVERY SINGLE HEAD START PARENT, STAFF, AND FRIEND, IN ORDER NOT TO LOSE THE ARRA GAINS FOR HEAD START AND EARLY HEAD START!
Please stay tuned and if you have specific questions on the status of the FY 2011 Head Start Appropriation contact NHSA's Legislative Associate, Tommy Sheridan, at 703-739-7560 or email@example.com.
As you might recall, Congressional mid-term elections will occur this coming November. That means it will be primary season for 435 Representatives and 36 Senators. While a number of states are in the midst of conducting primaries, the center of much of the attention has been on several of the special elections occurring throughout the nation. A special election is held when a seat becomes vacant between regularly scheduled elections and typically occurs when the incumbent has either passed away, as was the case earlier this year when the passing of Senator Kennedy prompted the special election of Senator Brown, or has decided to resign or retire.
This month, special elections occurred in Hawaii and Pennsylvania for two seats vacated earlier this year. Last week, Charles Djou (R-HI) was elected to serve Hawaii's 1st Congressional district (Neil Abercrombie's seat) and Mark Critz (D-PA) won the open seat in Pennsylvania due to the passing of Representative John Murtha earlier this year.
Yasmina Vinci issued a statement on May 18, 2010 in response to the GAO allegations. She said: "...As the organization representing the Head Start field, all of us at the National Head Start Association (NHSA) are quite concerned about allegations of unlawful acts related to eligibility determinations by some Head Start programs...
Our programs serve the country's most vulnerable children and families. Compliance with eligibility regulations lies at the very heart of the Head Start mission. Determining eligibility can be complex - some children are categorically eligible, such as homeless and foster children. Others require eligibility determination based on family income. Every program is guided by a set of policies and procedures concerning who is deemed eligible, and Head Start staff are expected to comply with these requirements.
NHSA and our Head Start membership take these allegations very seriously. If it turns out that some programs are out of compliance, we will do all we can to support whatever measures are put in place to assure compliance. In addition, at NHSA we are committed to sharing best practices and ensuring that the vast majority of programs that get this right help the ones that must do better.
Not only are we concerned about these allegations, but we are saddened. At this point, we do not know the details of any of the allegations. But we do know that even one act of improper enrollment is one act too many.
In the world of Head Start, everyday actions make an enormous difference in the lives of the families we serve - like sitting down in the home with parents who are both out of work to talk about stresses on the children; or providing dental care to a child who has never seen a dentist; or providing nutritious meals to children whose parents sometimes have to choose between paying the rent and buying food.
Ensuring that the most vulnerable children and families are served by Head Start and Early Head Start must be a given. There is too much at stake."
To read her full statement, please click here.
Thanks to all Regional and State Association leaders who have jumped out to support the work of Affiliate Relations over the past two weeks. Ed Condon has conducted "check-in" meetings with 15 states, two regions and two strategic partners. He is looking forward to meeting with each of the associations over the next month and continues to be impressed with the hard work of these "lean operations." The network of Head Start Associations is active and engaged! If you have not yet scheduled a time, contact NHSA Affiliate Relations at 703-739-7568 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, NHSA has added a new page to its website. Here you will find links to Regional and State Associations. We will continue to add information to this page as we move forward. Please continue to check back for new information and resources.
If you have questions, please contact Edward Condon, Director of Affiliate Relations - email@example.com to learn more and work collectively to move Head Start forward.
Join us June 14-17 in San Antonio, Texas for this year's NHSA Academy. Leading and managing in Head Start is rewarding, challenging, and complex. The NHSA Academy Administrator and Mid-Manager Credential Program 2010 is an intensive four-day training designed to raise the bar in Head Start program administration and management by focusing on a combination of critical skills, knowledge, and approaches that support high quality service provision, organizational development, and effective strategies. Knowledgeable and dynamic presenters provide daily lectures and extended learning experiences that help learners translate theory into practice. The Academy also offers opportunities for participants to share with colleagues and learn new skills and resources.
For more information on this year's speakers, registration, and hotel information-please click here.
NHSA encourages you to attend Research on Young Children and Families: Launching the Next Decade for Policy and Practice. This is Head Start's 10th National Research Conference, which will be held June 21-23, 2010 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. Conference registration is free. There will be a major plenary session about the Head Start Impact Study findings at the conference at 8:30 am on Tuesday, June 22, and we encourage the Head Start community to come and attend the sessions.
The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, in conjunction with the Office of Head Start; Administration for Children, Youth and Families; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is sponsoring this national research-to-practice conference. Yasmina Vinci is a member of the conference planning committee. Ben Allen is a panelist in one of the sessions and is chairing another session.
The conference focuses on identifying and disseminating new research relevant to young children (0-8 years) and their families while expanding dialogue and fostering partnerships among researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. The conference focuses especially on research relevant to low-income families who are Head Start's population. To register for the conference, click here.
With a theme of "Celebrating 45 Years of Head Start and Building a Head Start for the Future," the NHSA Leadership Institute will be held September 20-23, 2010 at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. This institute will cover hot Head Start topics, including an update on federal legislation affecting Head Start, discussions about the revised Head Start Program Performance Standards, ethics, media relations, Migrant/Seasonal Head Start issues, NHSA affiliate relations, new potential partners for Head Start, and a discussion about how to make Head Start part of a birth to grade 3 model. This institute will also provide an opportunity for Head Start leaders to educate their members of Congress about the need to approve President Obama's FY 2011 budget proposal for Head Start. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to celebrate Head Start's 45th anniversary at an event on September 22. Additional information about the Leadership Institute will be posted in the upcoming weeks on www.nhsa.org.
Last week, NHSA participated in a discussion group on the newly launched ASSET initiative by the ACF. ASSET is a multi-faceted initiative to increase ACF's use of asset building strategies to support low-income families and children. A large part of the initiative is the Financial Stability for Families with Young Children ("FSFYC") project, led by Joan Lombardi, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development. One focus of FSFYC is to ensure that more families have access to asset building services and to increase the early childhood field's role in this area. FSFYC will develop and distribute information, provide assistance and create knowledge in a number of ways, including:
• Raise awareness among the early childhood field about its roles in ensuring that families with young children can access asset building services;
• Develop and disseminate resources that highlight strategies for providing these services to families with young children;
• Identify approaches to financial education, encouraging access to mainstream financial institutions, matched savings, and other asset building strategies particularly suited for families with young children;
• Provide technical assistance and training to the early childhood field including Head Start providers, child care resource and referral agencies and child care providers; and
• Develop demonstration sites for exploring new approaches for providing these services through Head Start providers, key organizations in the child care field, and throughout the early childhood field. For more information on the Assets for Independence program, please click here.
ACF recently issued PI-HS-10-02, Income Eligibility for Enrollment, clarifying some important elements in determining eligibility for Head Start. This is an especially significant issue, as noted above in the section on the GAO testimony. To read the new Program Instruction on Eligibility, please visit this website.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Recalls You Need to Know NHSA is dedicated to making sure our Head Start children and families remain safe. To do so, we are bringing you the "Most Wanted" recall list from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") to make sure your program staff and families are aware of the latest and most relevant recalls from the CPSC. Check out this list and links with additional information below:
For more information on these and other recalls, please visit http://www.cpsc.gov/
Additionally, on April 30, 2010, there was a voluntary recall of infants' and children's liquid forms of TYLENOL®, MOTRIN®, ZYRTEC® and BENADRYL®. For specific product information and next steps for consumers, please visit this website.
Head Start Eligibility Redux:
We had such an overwhelming response to this week's eligibility webinar, we're running it again. Please go to this website for registration.
Conducting Internal Investigations:
With all of the additional scrutiny that Head Start programs are receiving externally from the Government Accountability Office, the HHS Office of Inspector General, the Office of Head Start, Congress, the media, and others, there has never been a better time to understand when and how to conduct internal investigations. Join Ted Waters on Wednesday, June 9 at 3pm eastern time when we'll discuss:
Sign up today to learn about NHSA member discount pricing for both this webinar and the one below by clicking here. Then click on "Read More/Register" under "For Head Start Organizations."
When your Head Start program makes procurements-that is, when you buy goods or services for your program, do you know all the ins and outs of the regulations you must comply with? On Thursday, June 10 at 3pm eastern time, Zoe Beckerman of the Legal Advisory Service will tell you the scoop on procurement fundamentals to make sure your program stays in compliance. During this webinar, we'll talk about:
**Please note: The Head Start Legal Advisory Service will be taking a breather for most of the summer and will be back as programs return to the classroom in late summer. During our summer hiatus, you can continue use our on-demand contentto view at your leisure for 30 days! Check out on-demand topics here.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently provided the public with a list of helpful resources about the new health care bill and its implications for individuals and organizations. Please see below for a list of links:
Young Adult Coverage Fact Sheet. The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents' health care plan until age 26.
Web Portal Fact Sheet. The Affordable Care Act establishes an internet portal to help individuals and small businesses identify insurance options in their state. The web portal will help consumers navigate their options in the individual and small business private market and help them determine if they may be eligible for a variety of existing public programs, including existing state high risk pools, new high risk pools, Medicaid, Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Early Retiree Reinsurance Program in the Affordable Care Act Fact Sheet. Self-funded and insured plans can apply, including plans sponsored by private entities, state and local governments, nonprofits, religious entities, unions, and other employers.
Temporary High Risk Pool Fact Sheet provides information about the temporary high risk pool program included in the Affordable Care Act and chart outlining potential allocations of high risk pool funds to states.
Information for Your Community:
Health Reform for American Families (pdf)
Health Reform for Children (pdf)
Health Reform for Young Adults (pdf)
Health Reform for Early Retirees (pdf)
Health Reform for Seniors (pdf)
Health Reform for African Americans (pdf)
Health Reform for Latinos (pdf)
Health Reform for Rural Americans (pdf)
Health Reform for Women (pdf)
Health Reform for Small Businesses (pdf)
Health Reform for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (pdf)
Health Reform for Americans with Disabilities (pdf) Health Reform for LGBT Communities (pdf)
Health Reform for Veterans (pdf)
Since legislators are concerned about the federal deficit and are looking to make cuts where they can, now is the time to weigh in with your Senators and Representatives.
To contact your Senators and Representatives, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or if you'd like to email them, go to: www.senate.gov and click on your Senator's website or www.house.gov and click on your Representative's website. On each website, there is a contact or feedback form which will allow you to email him/her directly. Also be sure to send them the publicity about the Early Head Start and Head Start programs you have opened with ARRA money. If you have any questions about this, please contact NHSA's Legislative Associate, Tommy Sheridan, at 703-739-7560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attendees of the NHSA Annual Conference Closing Session, Dallas, Texas
Wyoming Child and Family Development, Wyoming
Neighbors In Need Of Services (NINOS), Texas
Texas Head Start Association, Texas
Goodwill Homes Community Services, Tennessee
Wateree Community Action, Inc., South Carolina
Woonsockett Head Start Parents Committee, Rhode Island
Capital Area Head Start, Pennsylvania
PPS Policy Council Head Start, Oregon
Hillsboro Community Action Organization, Oregon
Williamsburg "Y" Head Start, New York
Warren County Head Start, New York
Head Start of Rockland, New York
New York State Head Start Association, New York
El Grito, Inc., New Mexico
Central Nebraska Community Services, Nebraska
Nebraska Head Start Association, Nebraska
Child and Family Development Program, Nebraska
Parents In Community Action Head Start, Minnesota
Catholic Charities, Maryland
St. Veronica's Head Start, Maryland
Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield Head Start, Massachusetts
Kansas Head Start Association, Kansas
Upper League of Madison County Head Start, Indiana
Catholic Charities, Illinois
Excelligence Learning Group, California
ECS Head Start Parents, California
Region IX Head Start Association, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, & Pacific Rim Islands
Head Start of Eastern Orange County, California
ECC of Nassau Parents, California
Gulf Coast Community, California
California Head Start Parents, California
Pinal Gila Community Child Services Inc., Arizona
NHSA would like to give a big thanks to all of the programs who have donated to the Dollar per Child Campaign ("DPC") so far.
As you know, the funds from Dollars per Child help NHSA pay for all of our legislative efforts, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Head Start Appropriations, Early Learning Challenge Fund, and other legislative efforts. Your support of the DPC Campaign is vital to NHSA's advocacy efforts on behalf of the Head Start Community. We cannot do our work without your support!
Our work is far from done. With an ever-challenging budget situation in Washington, the struggle to preserve the gains of the ARRA will undoubtedly be even more strenuous in the coming years. So don't wait!!! Please send your contributions, whatever amount you can afford, whether it is $1 per child, $5 per child, or $10 per child. You can even easily donate online on our website.
Dollar per Child funds will ensure that NHSA can continue to lead the way in all of the future advocacy efforts coming up - from regulatory issues with the Office of Head Start, to additional fiscal year appropriations, to the next Head Start Act reauthorization, which is not far off. Remember, raise your hand! Use your words! Together we can make a difference. NHSA continues to work for you and with you on your behalf on matters of importance to the Head Start community.
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© National Head Start Association, 2010. All rights reserved.
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