Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Program Staffing

03/07/1995

The grantee is able to meet state requirements for staff/child ratios and teacher credential requirements by staffing each center with approximately two teachers (depending upon center enrollment), who work eight hours from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and two to five teacher's aides30 who work varying shifts of seven hours each.

To accomplish this, it meets requirements for a "Children's Center" for part of the day and a "licensed day care facility" for the remainder. In particular, California Department of Education teacher credential standards governing the GCC and SPS programs are even stricter than those of Head Start and the state licensing authority. Under GCC and SPS rules, teachers must possess California "Title 5" Children's Center permits, which require at least 12 units of postsecondary early childhood or child development education, as well as 6 months of work experience. (The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is not acceptable by these standards.) The program follows these Title 5 requirements, which are actually stricter than those of Head Start, for most of the day. In the early morning and late afternoon, however, the program follows California "Title 22" regulations for licensed day care (rather than licensed children's centers).31 The program director believes Title 22 regulations meet Head Start Performance Standards, but technically, Title 22 teacher credentials may not meet the Head Start requirements for teachers that will become effective in September 1996.

Title 22 requires teacher/child ratios of 1:12, which exceeds Head Start standards. Title 5 requires teacher/child ratios of 1:24 and adult/child ratios of 1:8. The director says she in fact keeps teacher/child ratios under 1:20 during Title 5 hours at the centers, in order to conform with Head Start staff/child ratios.32

The program's greatest staffing challenge is that permitted teachers are in short supply in the county, since the program must compete with school district child care programs that pay higher salaries. The director was pleased, however, that new Head Start quality funding is beginning to allow her to pay more competitive salaries.

In addition, full-day care makes it difficult to release staff for planning time, home visits, and training. Teachers usually complete their planning while children are napping. Home visits also are conducted during nap time, when center supervisors are available to fill in, (or at night, for working parents). Compensatory time is often provided to staff during the day, if they perform home visits at night.