Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . Scheduling Home Visits with Working Parents


All directors who participated in this study expressed the sentiment that home visits are an integral part of Head Start. Scheduling home visits in full-day programs, however, is problematic for all grantees. Whereas staff from part-day programs often conduct home visits in the afternoons, parents with children in full-day care are at work or in training during this time. For these families, home visits have to be conducted in the evenings or on weekends.

Evening visits, however, are difficult to arrange; parents are tired, staff have already worked 8 hours; and visiting certain neighborhoods at night jeopardizes the safety of the staff. In response to these difficulties, five grantees allow "home" visits to take place at the centers, though only as a last resort (Exhibit 2). They feel that center visits are better than no visits at all. The most common way for grantees to compensate teachers for after-hours home visits is by providing staff with compensatory time. The realities of the full-day schedule, however, make it difficult for teachers to actually take this time off.