Future planning for child care in Alachua County will be affected by state welfare reform initiatives, and will require additional changes to current practices. One set of issues, which were voiced by Head Start staff and child care providers, is the lack of funding and relatively low quality of services for infants and toddlers.
The collaborative model for full-day Head Start in Alachua County has worked well, but total success requires time and dedication. Policymakers need to consider the long-term nature of the process of change for a child care agency to become Head Start, and provide technical assistance to facilitate positive change. As stated above, it takes time to bring child care facilities to Head Start standards and to train staff adequately. At times, it also is necessary to change the mindset of child care employees to make them the professionals Head Start wishes to employ.