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


The NRCA Head Start director feels strongly that the "connected care" program is a valuable service. However, she would like more control over the quality of care that Head Start children receive in afternoon child care. Under the current arrangement, in fact, she often asks herself whether children would receive better care from relatives than from local providers. Therefore, she would like to receive additional funding from Head Start or other Federal sources to provide either an in-house wraparound program or to contract with the quality local child care centers she currently cannot afford.

If she launched a full-day wraparound program, however, she said she is concerned that the program would lose its "comprehensive focus" should staff members became overworked providing long hours of child care. Services that staff currently provide to families — such as home visits, and assistance obtaining drivers licenses or enrolling in education programs — are critical to family welfare, she believes, but require a great deal of staff time. Therefore, she feels she would require both increased funding to hire more staff and additional training in appropriate full-day staffing methods. Finally, she believes Head Start should provide funding to serve the older and younger siblings of eligible children, in order to solve child care problems she so frequently sees in working families. Her Regional Program Specialist supported her recommendations for increased funding, noting that quality, affordable child care for children of every age is a prerequisite for welfare reform.