The NRCA has been able to purchase off-site child care services for approximately 40 Head Start children since CCDBG funding became available three years ago through the Virginia Council on Child Day Care and Early Childhood Programs.19 Then, as now, the program's community needs assessment and individual family needs assessments indicated a need for full-day services. (This year, for instance, 193 of the 304 Head Start children have parents who are working full-time or in full-time education or training.) The executive director of the NRCA community action agency was particularly interested in obtaining the new funding to provide full-day service, even though the Head Start program was in the midst of an expansion that threatened to overwhelm its staff.
When they first received it, the Head Start director and her staff explored the option of using the funding to provide on-site wraparound care; that is, to extend the hours of the current Head Start program or at least to offer additional child care hours on-site, once the Head Start program ended. However, since CCDBG funding per slot was much lower than that of Head Start, they decided that they could not afford to provide a full-day program on-site.
In addition, the director was concerned that an on-site, full-day Head Start program would overload her staff with child care responsibilities, making it difficult for them to schedule home visits, perform parent advocacy work, prepare daily plans, and receive training. For all of these reasons, the program decided to use its CCDBG funding to contract with other licensed community child care centers and in-home providers to deliver afternoon child care services that would supplement the morning Head Start program.