Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Full-Day Services in the 1990s


While in the 1970s programs that were offering full-day Head Start were funded entirely by the Head Start program and housed in Head Start centers, in the 1990s, grantees have developed a variety of approaches for providing full-day care. These approaches vary according to the following characteristics:

  • Type of location — Children may be cared for in a Head Start center, a non-Head Start center, or a family child care home;
  • Movement during the day — Children may remain in one location for the entire day or move at some point from one place to another; and
  • Funding — The costs of full-day care are usually shared between Head Start and other funding sources, such as the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the Social Service Block Grant (SSBG-Title XX), Title IV-A (which includes Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC/JOBS), at-risk child care and transitional child care), and state child care or educational resources.

Grantees and Federal staff are aware of a variety of arrangements for full-day services, but most of the existing information is anecdotal, rather than comprehensive.

One potential descriptive resource is the Program Information Report (PIR) through which all Head Start grantees document services delivered each year. However, information on full-day services collected through the PIR is quite limited, and may not include all programs offering full-day services. The PIR suggests that both the number of grantees and the number of Head Start children offered full-day, full-year services is quite small. For the 1993-94 program year only 0.6 percent of all funded enrollment was for full-day, full-year services. More specifically, the PIR indicates that 376 grantees (27 percent) offered full-day services (more than 6 hours a day, 5 days a week) to 149,372 children in fiscal year 94. A total of 32 of those grantees (serving 4,448 children) operated for the full year (more than 11 months). The remainder (including migrant programs) were open only part of the year.

It is probable that these numbers incorrectly estimate the actual amount of full-day care that is sponsored or coordinated through Head Start. On the one hand, there is reason to believe that the numbers overestimate the amount of full-day care. The numbers include some children who receive services for more than 6, but for fewer than 8 hours a day, an amount Head Start defines as full-day care but does not cover a full day of parental employment and probably would not be counted as full-day care by child care providers outside Head Start.

On the other hand, there are reasons to believe that the numbers underestimate the amount of full-day care offered to Head Start children. The PIR question that elicits full-day enrollment only concerns children in the standard center-based model. Children in family child care homes or in locally designed options also may receive full-day services — but how many of these children there are is unknown. Finally, grantees are instructed to count as full-day children only those who are in Head Start for the full day. Children who are funded by Head Start for part of the day and by another source for the remainder of the day and children who are transported to a second location, even one paid for by Head Start, may not be included in the count.

To increase understanding of the number of grantees and the collaborations involved in the delivery of full-day services for Head Start children, the 1993-94 PIR asked grantees if they operated a "day care program" that provided additional hours of care for Head Start children, and, if so, what funding sources were used to pay for day care. A total of 406 grantees (30 percent) reported that they offer day care to Head Start children. This is a sizeable number of Head Start grantees, and it can be assumed that many Head Start children are receiving full-day care under this arrangement.

Of the grantees offering full-day services, the following numbers and percentages receive money from the sources listed:

  • 292 (72 percent) of those offering day care reported receiving child care funds from SSBG or state social services;
  • 103 (25 percent) from state education funds;
  • 104 (26 percent) from charitable funds;
  • 64 (16 percent) from private, noncharitable funds;
  • 277 (68 percent) from parent fees; and
  • 174 (43 percent) from other sources.

A majority of grantees supplement Head Start dollars with SSBG funds and parent fees to pay for full-day services. Many who use other sources probably use CCDBG. Furthermore, state funds, charitable funds, and private noncharitable funds are tapped by about an eighth to a quarter of grantees who offer such services. The task of the current project is to document the various approaches that grantees are employing and the issues they face as they operate programs funded by these multiple sources.