A computerized accounting system that was customized to accommodate the large number of sites on which they maintain data is used by WCOP; and a full-time administrative person keeps track of the financial data. The differing administrative requirements of the various funding sources generates a great deal of paperwork for the grantee. However, if guidelines were standardized across programs this process could be simplified. At present, the USDA, Head Start, and the state Department of Social Services all have different guidelines for program participation.
For some children in full-day services, WCOP receives both Head Start and full child care subsidies. In this situation, the money is used to provide additional services or to provide services to additional children, and is incorporated into the central pool.
In accordance with their central budgeting policy, WCOP has one policy for reimbursement according to attendance. Children can miss up to 12 days of Head Start per quarter before loss of funding occurs.
Differences in the reimbursement structures — prospective versus retrospective payments — are problematic for program operation. The grantee must meet its payroll and pay its bills in a timely fashion, and reimbursements do not always arrive soon enough to keep cash flow smooth.