By Lorelei Brush, Ph.D.,Sharon Deich, Kerry Traylor,and Nancy Pindus
Pelavin Research Institute and The Urban Institute
For the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Department of Health and Human Services"
Over the past 10 years, the number of low-income mothers with young children needing the services of full-day programs has increased dramatically. Many factors, including the adoption of the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills (JOBS) program, homelessness, and increased demands on the child welfare system have contributed to this growing need. In order to better serve their children and families, some Head Start grantees have developed programs to meet the requirements for longer hours of service.
The purpose of this study is to examine the ways in which full-day services are currently offered by a small group of Head Start Grantees. This study does not include all grantees that are providing full-day services, but it provides an in-depth look at eight grantees that fund extended hours by combining resources from a variety of sources. Factors considered in the selection of grantees include the geographic location of the grantee; the size of its funded enrollment and its full-day enrollment; the source(s) of funding used for the extended hours; and the structure of the full-day option. Data were collected during 2- day site visits to each grantee. In addition to the director of each program, fiscal staff, component coordinators, teaching staff, and staff from collaborating and other child care agencies in the community were interviewed.
Among the grantees, three distinct modes of service provision were utilized: (1) wraparound care, in which funding from sources other than Head Start is used to expand the core Head Start day; (2) wrap-in care, in which Head Start grantees contract with another child care provider and fund the set of services needed to allow the contracted program to meet Head Start standards; and (3) connected care, in which grantees contract with existing child care programs to provide children with supervised care before and/or after the Head Start day. Connected care providers are not expected to meet Head Start's Performance Standards. It should be noted that even among these grantees who are providing full-day care, children attending for a full day make up only a small part of the full enrollment in most of these programs.
Programmatic Differences in Full-day Services
In addition to the traditional Head Start portion of the day, each full-day provider had to develop a program for the extended hours. Four of the grantees had a short structured activity in the afternoon and scheduled free play for the rest of the time. The others found that structured activities were too often interrupted during the afternoon, as children left for the day. For these grantees, the time after naps and snack was spent exclusively in free play.
Grantees also had to find new and innovative ways to schedule parent activities, home visits, and teacher training. Whereas staff from part-day programs can work with parents during the day, staff in full-day programs cannot because parents with children in full-day programs are at work or in training during these times. Overall, grantees were quite successful at finding ways to integrate parent activities and home visits into the full-day programs, using such methods as scheduling visits and activities at convenient times for parents (e.g., during breaks between college terms, at the end of work shifts), constructing activities that could support the program but be done in the evenings or on weekends (e.g., prepare materials for an activity, help renovate a room), and keeping a log for each child in which parents and teachers make regular entries. Grantees were also creative in devising ways to provide training to full-day staff, including liberal use of substitutes and closing periodically for training days.
Funding for Full-day Programs
Unlike part-day programs that receive nearly all of their funding as a grant from Head Start, the grantees in this study were piecing together funding from a variety of sources to meet the requirements of a full-day program. A variety of issues regarding the coordination of funds came to light during the interviews.
Fiscal Management Strategies
Each grantee had to develop a strategy for allocating funding from their various funding sources. Among the eight grantees, five different strategies were employed. The first method, which is used by two of the sample's Head Start grantees, involves dividing costs among the participating agencies so that each agency alone pays for a particular line item. For example, one participating agency may pay all facilities expenses and Head Start may pay all non-facilities expenses. By keeping the funding separated, grantees greatly simplify the accounting process. The remaining four methods require the Head Start agency to manage multiple funding streams, but demonstrate different ways of allocating costs to funding sources. One grantee used no allocation formula at all; instead, this grantee pooled all of its funds into a single account from which all bills were paid. Another grantee assigned each line item to one funding source only, so that Head Start paid 100 percent of certain line items and its other source paid 100 percent of other items. Two grantees used a single allocation formula to divide costs across funding sources: all line item costs were allocated proportionally by number of children funded by each source or amount of income from each source. Finally, two grantees split costs across funding sources according to formulas tailored specifically for each item.
Loss of Eligibility for Non-Head Start Funds
Other funding issues continue to hamper grantees in their ability to provide full-day services. Parental loss of eligibility for non-Head Start funding was a problem for all grantees. Receipt of full-day services is generally contingent upon parental employment status; parents must be working or in training to qualify for full-day services. When parents stop working or drop out of school, even temporarily, the children are no longer eligible for the funding that pays for the non-Head Start portion of the day. Grantees have developed different strategies to deal with this issue, but all feel that it is a continuing problem.
Retrospective reimbursements are also problematic for most grantees. Payments to cover the extended portion of the Head Start day are almost always reimbursed retrospectively. Cash- flow problems often arise as grantees need to pay their bills before the reimbursements are received. In this case, grantees either rely on sponsoring agencies to cover the shortfalls or borrow from one part of their program to pay for another.
Many grantees also struggle to keep their budgets in the black. The reimbursement rates received from many state and local sources are simply too low to cover the cost of following Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day. For example, child-staff ratios and staffing patterns that are allowable under these other programs often fail to meet Head Start requirements. Although grantees have found ways to provide the required funding to maintain Head Start quality, shortfalls that require financial assistance from sponsoring agencies still do occur.
Issues of Collaboration
For grantees using wrap-in or connected care, ensuring a high quality of care from contracted providers was at issue. For the wrap-in programs, all providers follow the Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day, and issues of quality, for the most part, are related to bringing new sites into compliance with the standards (new sites often need time to upgrade facilities and train staff). For the one connected care provider, where Head Start Performance Standards are not followed by contracted providers, the quality of these contracted programs is a major concern.
Finally, all grantees indicated an urgent need to fund additional full-day services for infants and toddlers. As more mothers seek employment, having the option of serving the younger siblings of Head Start children in the same facility is a necessity. This coupled with the multiple risks faced by many very young children points to the urgent need for earlier intervention.
Issues for the Federal Office
The findings from this study point to the following issues for policymakers to address:
- To improve continuity of care, should Head Start pay for a child's full-time placement when the parent loses eligibility for child care benefits from another source? Alternatively, could other Federal programs such as Title IV-A or CCDBG set aside funding to continue full-day services for children in this circumstance?
- As part of Early Head Start, should Head Start offer full-day programs for infants and toddlers?
- To ease the transition to compliance with the Head Start Performance Standards, should Head Start provide a phase-in schedule for grantees using wrap-in care?
- To encourage parent involvement for full-day families, should Head Start provide additional resources to grantees to develop materials, hold workshops, and share information on this topic?
- To promote new collaborations for full-day services, should Head Start provide additional guidance that clarifies its position on methodologies for allocating funding across multiple sources?
- Finally, should the Federal office provide new and expanded guidance for the Head Start community on the provision of full-day services, including increased access to a strengthened technical assistance staff?
Although this study provided considerable information about the delivery of full-day services by drawing upon funding from multiple sources, many questions regarding the provision of full- day services for Head Start children and families still remain. For instance, neither this study nor Head Start data sources can provide information on the number of Head Start children who currently receive more than 8 hours a day of care or are in programs that run 12 months. Other important questions include: how do the various modes of care affect the well-being of the children; how do co-located services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers affect family choices of care situations; and what impact does full-day service have on the self-sufficiency of families? Further research is required to respond to these questions.
Chapter I: Introduction
Guiding the work of every Head Start grantee is the basic principle that all program services should be designed to meet the needs of families. Thus, before preparing a Head Start grant application, grantee staff conduct a community needs assessment. Then, in the application itself, staff describe the needs that exist and how those needs will be addressed by their program of services. In the assessments, many grantees note the numbers of parents who are in school or training programs and the number of mothers who are employed. In developing their programs, staff use this information to decide on the hours of service to be offered. Although the traditional Head Start day is between 4 and 5 hours long, if Head Start-eligible families have a high percentage of parents who are in school or training or who are employed, grantee staff can offer full-day services for children in order to meet the needs of those parents.
Purpose of This Study
Although Head Start does have legislative authority to pay for full-day services, programs of this type are rare and often limited to populations with special needs such as children of migrant workers. To provide additional full-day options, grantees have been encouraged to provide extended hours of care by pulling together funding from other Federal, state and local sources. As the Report of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion indicates, "Although some directors have been successful in putting wrap-around services together, little is known about the quality of services or the continuity of care for the children." (p.16).1
In response to these concerns, the present study examines a variety of approaches for the provision of full-day services to children in the Head Start program. Because the study is a short-term project, its goal is to summarize (1) program services, (2) achievements, and (3) challenges faced by a small set of grantees. In particular, its objectives are as follows:
- To carefully document alternative approaches to full-day service provision, as currently offered by eight Head Start grantees;
- To identify the strengths and weaknesses of those approaches for the children and families served, the Head Start grantees, and the Federal program administrators;
- To describe the key policy choices for Federal Head Start administrators in expanding full-day services; and
- To clarify issues and research questions regarding the provision of full-day services that should be considered for further evaluation.
The remaining sections of Chapter I describe the history of full-day services in the Head Start program, the methodology of this study, the grantees who were included in the sample, and the approaches used to provide full-day care. Chapter II discusses findings in terms of the commonalities in philosophy and implementation of full-day services across grantees and the issues grantees confront in program management, program services for children, funding, and collaboration. Chapter III discusses the key policy choices for Federal staff, as more grantees elect to offer full-day services, and includes a set of research questions for further study. The site visit summaries are in Appendix A.
History of Full-Day Services in Head Start
In the early days of Head Start, many grantees offered full- day, full-year care to children whose parents or caregivers were not in the home due to employment, illness, or other reasons. However, in the early 1970s, the number of grantees offering this option substantially declined, as Head Start focused on increasing the number of families served rather than on offering extensive services to a smaller number of families. Head Start grantees continued to offer full-day services but to a limited group that included children in migrant families and a relatively small number of nonmigrant families, where the need for such services was clearly documented. However, Federal staff no longer approved the offering of full-day services for all children on the basis of parent preference alone.
In the late 1980s, several phenomena within the United States generated a new call for full-day services for low-income children. First, and most strikingly, mothers across all income groups increased their participation in the labor force, which extended the demand for child care. Second, initiation of the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Program meant that more low-income women were placed in school or training programs and, therefore, needed longer hours of care for their children. And finally, the increase in the number of homeless families meant a greater need for full-day services. Some homeless families housed in shelters were not allowed to remain in those residences during the day; many homeless mothers were busy locating service providers or potential employers during the day and therefore required safe places for their children to stay.
As grantees have responded to this growing demand for full- day programs for children, they have followed another important guiding principle. They have devised ways of meeting family requirements for longer hours of service by working in concert with other community agencies. As encouraged in the report of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion, Head Start grantees are "forging partnerships" among community agencies to ensure that their families receive these important services.2
Full-Day Services in the 1990s
While in the 1970s programs that were offering full-day Head Start were funded entirely by the Head Start program and housed in Head Start centers, in the 1990s, grantees have developed a variety of approaches for providing full-day care. These approaches vary according to the following characteristics:
- Type of location — Children may be cared for in a Head Start center, a non-Head Start center, or a family child care home;
- Movement during the day — Children may remain in one location for the entire day or move at some point from one place to another; and
- Funding — The costs of full-day care are usually shared between Head Start and other funding sources, such as the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the Social Service Block Grant (SSBG-Title XX), Title IV-A (which includes Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC/JOBS), at-risk child care and transitional child care), and state child care or educational resources.
Grantees and Federal staff are aware of a variety of arrangements for full-day services, but most of the existing information is anecdotal, rather than comprehensive.
One potential descriptive resource is the Program Information Report (PIR) through which all Head Start grantees document services delivered each year. However, information on full-day services collected through the PIR is quite limited, and may not include all programs offering full-day services. The PIR suggests that both the number of grantees and the number of Head Start children offered full-day, full-year services is quite small. For the 1993-94 program year only 0.6 percent of all funded enrollment was for full-day, full-year services. More specifically, the PIR indicates that 376 grantees (27 percent) offered full-day services (more than 6 hours a day, 5 days a week) to 149,372 children in fiscal year 94. A total of 32 of those grantees (serving 4,448 children) operated for the full year (more than 11 months). The remainder (including migrant programs) were open only part of the year.
It is probable that these numbers incorrectly estimate the actual amount of full-day care that is sponsored or coordinated through Head Start. On the one hand, there is reason to believe that the numbers overestimate the amount of full-day care. The numbers include some children who receive services for more than 6, but for fewer than 8 hours a day, an amount Head Start defines as full-day care but does not cover a full day of parental employment and probably would not be counted as full-day care by child care providers outside Head Start.
On the other hand, there are reasons to believe that the numbers underestimate the amount of full-day care offered to Head Start children. The PIR question that elicits full-day enrollment only concerns children in the standard center-based model. Children in family child care homes or in locally designed options also may receive full-day services — but how many of these children there are is unknown. Finally, grantees are instructed to count as full-day children only those who are in Head Start for the full day. Children who are funded by Head Start for part of the day and by another source for the remainder of the day and children who are transported to a second location, even one paid for by Head Start, may not be included in the count.
To increase understanding of the number of grantees and the collaborations involved in the delivery of full-day services for Head Start children, the 1993-94 PIR asked grantees if they operated a "day care program" that provided additional hours of care for Head Start children, and, if so, what funding sources were used to pay for day care. A total of 406 grantees (30 percent) reported that they offer day care to Head Start children. This is a sizeable number of Head Start grantees, and it can be assumed that many Head Start children are receiving full-day care under this arrangement.
Of the grantees offering full-day services, the following numbers and percentages receive money from the sources listed:
- 292 (72 percent) of those offering day care reported receiving child care funds from SSBG or state social services;
- 103 (25 percent) from state education funds;
- 104 (26 percent) from charitable funds;
- 64 (16 percent) from private, noncharitable funds;
- 277 (68 percent) from parent fees; and
- 174 (43 percent) from other sources.
A majority of grantees supplement Head Start dollars with SSBG funds and parent fees to pay for full-day services. Many who use other sources probably use CCDBG. Furthermore, state funds, charitable funds, and private noncharitable funds are tapped by about an eighth to a quarter of grantees who offer such services. The task of the current project is to document the various approaches that grantees are employing and the issues they face as they operate programs funded by these multiple sources.
To accomplish the goals of the study, eight grantees whose programs could potentially represent different methods of providing full-day services were selected. To do so, existing materials describing full-day services were reviewed, including the following:
- An Evaluability Assessment of Child Care Options for Work-Welfare Programs — A summary of lengthy interviews with 21 Head Start grantees who delivered full-day services in 1987-88;3
- Head Start and Child Care Collaboration Programs — An ongoing study by the Children's Defense Fund of the issues faced by Head Start grantees who have created linkages with other child care agencies in order to offer full-day services;4
- Summaries of key characteristics of grantees offering full-day services — Summaries prepared for the Child Care Subgroup of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion in 1993;5 and
- Papers submitted by a variety of grantees and interest groups to Head Start — An outline of their concerns about interagency collaborations for full-day care.6
The issues described were carefully reviewed, and a list of potential grantees was generated.
Second, Federal Head Start staff in national and regional offices suggested which grantees might be visited. Combining the ideas generated from the aforementioned sources, a list of 57 grantees to possibly be included in the sample was drawn up. With the assistance of Federal staff members, 30 of the nominees were selected as the most promising candidates for site visits.
Third, an interview protocol was developed, and the 30 grantees were telephoned. Grantee directors were consulted to make certain that grantees were offering services to some or all children for a minimum of 8 hours a day and that services were offered during the summer, when site visits needed to be conducted. Funding sources and the methods of service delivery were investigated so that the final group of eight sites would represent different approaches to the delivery of full-day services.
Fourth, the list was reduced to eight grantees and four alternates that offered full-day services during the summer and differed according to the following criteria:
- Part of country — The group represented all quadrants of the country;
- Urbanicity — The sample included urban, suburban, and rural grantees;
- Auspices — The sample included agencies with a variety of auspices (i.e., school systems, community action agencies and private nonprofits);
- Funded enrollment and full-day enrollment — The sample grantees varied in size of funded enrollment, from small (fewer than 250 children) to large (more than 750 children) and in the numbers of children in full-day programs;
- Care provider — Some grantees offered services themselves, some through delegate agencies, and some through contracts with non-Head Start child care providers; and
- Funding sources — All grantees used at least one funding source in addition to Head Start, with funding sources varying across the group of grantees.
Following discussions with Federal staff, the final list of eight sites included the following:
- Westchester Community Opportunity Program (Elmsford, NY);
- Western Kentucky University Child Care Consortium (Bowling Green, KY);
- New River Community Action (Christiansburg, VA);
- Alachua County School Board (Gainesville, FL);
- Miami Valley Child Development Centers (Dayton, OH);
- West Central Development Corporation (Moorhead, IA);
- Tulare County Child Care Educational Program (Visalia, CA); and
- Puget Sound Educational Service District (Seattle, WA).
Exhibit 1 illustrates site characteristics appropriately diverse in geographic location, urbanicity, and auspices. When compared to Head Start grantees nationwide, the eight selected for this study tended to serve more children than average. In addition, the full range of potential grantee sponsors is not represented by this group (i.e., the auspices did not include local or tribal governments). In other ways the grantees were quite representative.
One site is a small grantee, offering services to fewer than 250 children; two sites are medium-sized grantees, with 250 to 750 children enrolled; and five are large grantees, with more than 750 children served. Enrollment in the full-day option also varies — with three grantees serving fewer than 100 children, one serving 100 to 200, and four serving more than 200. The grantee agency offers full-day services in six of the sample organizations; delegate agencies also offer services in two instances. Contracted centers and homes are used by three sample agencies for the provision of full-day services. Finally, a wide variety of funding sources is used in addition to Head Start dollars, including Title IV-A (AFDC/JOBS), CCDBG, SSBG, state child care and education funds, and parent fees.
Each director was called to schedule a 2-day site visit. While on site, discussions were held with the Head Start director, fiscal staff, component coordinators, teaching staff in the full-day classrooms, staff from coordinating agencies, and, where possible, staff from other child care agencies in the community. Our questions concerned the following: (1) characteristics of the grantee and population served; (2) history of the full-day program; (3) current structure of full-day services (i.e., schedule and staffing arrangements); (4) nature of collaborative arrangements used to provide full-day services; (5) issues in the provision of full-day services (e.g., home visits, parent involvement, staff training); (6) fiscal arrangements and concerns; and (7) common challenges for policymakers.
Finally, site summaries for each of the grantees visited (Appendix A) were written, and the cross-site analysis that follows in Chapters II and III was prepared.
Approaches for Providing Full-Day Care
Following visits to the eight sites, it was found that the methods for providing full-day care could be classified into three groups. The first, and most frequent, was wraparound care, within which a grantee used Head Start monies to fund the core of its services and used funding from other sources to pay for care before and after the Head Start day. This method was used by the following six sites: Elmsford, NY; Bowling Green, KY; Dayton, OH; Moorhead, IA; Visalia, CA; and some of the services in Seattle, WA. As Head Start has promoted the use of wrap-around care for many years, it is not surprising that the majority of grantees in this study utilize this approach.
Second in frequency of use was wrap-in care, which means that a Head Start grantee contracts with another child care program and uses Head Start funds to extend the services the program offers to the point where it meets Head Start Performance Standards. This approach was used in Gainesville, FL, and in some of the services offered in Seattle, WA.
Third in frequency of use was a connected care method used in Christiansburg, VA. This grantee contracts with existing child care programs to provide children with supervised care before and after the Head Start day, but these "connected" providers are not expected to meet Head Start Performance Standards or to provide services beyond child care.
Of course, there are differences among grantees and differences within each approach — especially in terms of location of services (centers or homes) and sources of funding. However, as discussed in the next chapter, there are many commonalities in the issues faced by grantees employing similar approaches and more differences across grantees using varying strategies. For example, the grantee using connected care expressed concern about the quality of services in the contracted centers and homes not asked to meet Head Start Performance Standards; however, this was not noted as a concern for the grantees using wraparound or wrap-in services.
On the other hand, grantees using wraparound services expressed concern about the long working hours of teachers who have moved from part-day to full-day services. Questions included the following: "What is the best way to schedule staff time while providing sufficient planning opportunities during the day?" "How can we deliver the level of staff training to full- day staff that we provide for part-day staff?" "When these teachers accomplish home visits after hours, how do we provide them with compensatory time off during the day?" These questions did not generate concern from directors in the wrap-in or connected care arrangements, because Head Start staff are only working with children part of the day, which has been true in the past for most Head Start teachers.
As findings are described in the next two chapters, these three approaches to providing full-day services will frequently be referenced. Discussions generally concern the similarities of grantees within a group, but, where important, the text describes the differences among those grantees.
Chapter II: Findings
Grantees that have been able to put together full-day options for families have had to break new ground in many places. They have had to revise the management of their programs, grapple with issues of program substance, explore new avenues for funding, and collaborate with other child service providers in ways that were not required when Head Start was paying the full cost of their programs. This chapter describes the program services, successes, and challenges faced by eight grantees that are providing full-day services to Head Start children. The chapter begins with a discussion of the common philosophies of the grantees and then goes on to describe (1) issues of program substance, (2) issues of funding, (3) issues of program management, and (4) issues of collaboration that are particular to the provision of full-day services.
Shared Philosophies of Grantees
In reviewing the information collected during the site visits, it was apparent that the grantees and directors participating in this study have more in common than the fact that their programs offer full-day services. These directors share a philosophy about the need for providing quality care to all children in their communities. Although each of the eight directors we visited runs a high-quality program, none view their mission as complete. Instead, they are continually striving to improve their programs and to provide care to a wider range of low-income children.
This philosophy of striving to provide quality services to low-income children includes participation in the broader child care and social services community. Forging alliances with other child care agencies as well as other social service providers is viewed as an integral part of directors' jobs. All directors are active participants in their community needs assessments and are on planning boards for activities related to service provision for low-income families.
Challenging and changing rules and regulations that stand in the way of improving services is also common practice for these directors. For instance, most of these directors have worked through the political process, both at the state and local level, to change reimbursement rate policies for child care. Likewise, many directors have worked with regional staff as well as other funding sources to simplify accounting requirements.
And finally, in the course of the site visit interviews, each director expressed concern about the lack of quality care for infants and toddlers. Five of the grantees were already serving some infants and toddlers and one had rented space in a center that provides care for these age groups.
Although infants and toddlers fall outside the purview of the traditional Head Start target population, the lack of care for these groups both directly and indirectly affects Head Start for two reasons. First, when siblings have to be placed in different care arrangements from one another, the logistics of getting the children where they need to be can stand in the way of parents successfully completing training programs or maintaining employment. All of the directors look forward to the introduction of the new Early Head Start initiative that will serve this group. Yet, at the same time, they stress the urgency of the need for infant and toddler care.
Second, the directors indicated that a growing number of children now being served by Head Start are from very troubled families. The number of homeless children as well as the number of children with drug- or alcohol-abusing parents has soared during the past 10 years. These situations, compounded by living with the threat of violence in many neighborhoods, have left children more vulnerable at a younger age. Several directors indicated that the sooner services (i.e., Head Start) are provided to these children, the better the chances are at improving outcomes. One director reported that by the time these vulnerable children qualify for Head Start, when they turn 3 years old, the level of services required is so high that these children become a drain on the system; it makes more sense both in terms of outcomes and costs to serve these children at a younger age. The directors look forward to Head Start's entry into this arena, yet at the same time feel that not enough is being done in the short-term.
Issues of Program Substance
As Head Start grantees move toward providing full-day services, there are a series of issues related to the Head Start program itself that need to be addressed and, in some cases, modified to fit the full-day agenda. Exhibit 2 provides information for each of the issues discussed across grantees.
Scheduling Afternoon Activities
Whether and how to structure afternoon activities for full- day children is an issue each grantee has to address. Each director was asked about the types of afternoon activities the children are engaging in. Four of the grantees reported that the children are involved in some type of structured learning activities in the afternoon (Exhibit 2). For programs that have some structured afternoon activities, these activities usually involve a short circle-time activity and then a continuation of a morning small group activity.
For the other grantees, afternoon activities are unstructured. In these programs, the directors indicated that scheduling any structured activities in the afternoon is difficult for two reasons. First, children begin to be picked up by their parents as early as 3:00 p.m. This causes a disruption in activities both for those leaving and those staying. And second, children begin to tire in the later part of the day making it more difficult to focus on and complete their projects. One director, for example, indicated that all children are picked up by 3:30 p.m. By the time the children finish their naps, have a snack, and have gone to the bathroom, there are only a few minutes left before the end of the day. Planning afternoon activities is not feasible in this circumstance.
[Exhibit 2 here is a chart of the programmatic characteristics of grantees visited for the study.]
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.
Parent Activities for Working Parents
Parent activities are also difficult to arrange for parents who are at work or in training. With the exception of Moorhead, IA, grantees have had to find ways to fit parent activities into the busy lives of working parents. In Moorhead, parent involvement activities are a requirement from Job Corps, the program cosponsor. Job Corps requires that each parent spend the morning in Head Start one week of each month; volunteering in the Head Start classroom is built into the Job Corps schedule.
The other grantees have created opportunities for parent involvement that are tailored to the needs of the parents. For instance, one grantee located on a university campus, set up a computer lab where parents can stop by between classes and practice keyboarding or word processing skills. Another hosts a Parent Seminar day for working parents on a weekday. Others use breaks in training programs or non-work hours for scheduled parent activities. Holding regularly scheduled weekend "fix-up" days at the centers and scheduling parent involvement activities more intensively during semester breaks are two other ways activities have been modified for full-day parents. And finally, one grantee with family child care providers holds meetings at their homes. This not only is more convenient for the parents but also provides an atmosphere that is friendly and familiar.
In addition, several grantees have developed parent activities that can be done at home. In one case, each full-day Head Start child has a log in which the teacher writes daily. The logs go home with the children twice a week. The parents can simply read the logs, respond to something that was written by the teacher, or write a note of their own with comments or questions for the teacher. Information in the logs helps both teachers and parents provide the best care for the children.
Grantees also try to encourage parents of full-day children to participate on policy councils. All grantees open policy council membership to parents of full-day as well as part-day children. Some have slots reserved for this group. However, the already hectic and stressful lives of full-day parents do sometimes limit their interest in taking on added responsibilities, such as participating on the policy councils.
Training Classroom Staff
Scheduling regular inservice and preservice training for full-day classroom staff has also created challenges for the grantees. Although part-day Head Start programs can provide training in the afternoon or can close the center for a training day, programs serving children of working parents cannot do this without disrupting parent schedules. The grantees in this study have come up with several ways to provide training time for their full-day staff. These include using substitute teachers, providing onsite training, and closing the center for several days to provide intensive periods of training.
Six grantees use substitutes to allow classroom staff to attend training during regular scheduled class time (Exhibit 2). Several of the directors indicated that they hire substitutes only as a last resort. For the most part, grantees rely on other center staff to act as substitutes during training times. Other staff includes part-day Head Start teachers and teacher aides, part-time aides, center supervisors, and family service workers.
Providing more on-site training is another method frequently used to train full-day staff. For instance, one grantee uses Technical Assistance Support Center staff and university personnel as mentors, working with teachers in the classrooms. Two other grantees conduct training at the centers during naptime.
Five grantees close at some point during the year to provide time for training. Three grantees close for one to two intensive training days each year. Two others close for one week for the same purpose. Yet another grantee has developed a unique system to support training of its full-day staff. Each year this grantee closes for one week of "forced" vacation. Throughout the year, the grantee holds training sessions on Saturdays. For every hour of training attended, the teachers are credited with an hour of paid vacation that can be used during this one-week period.
Scheduling Classroom Staff
Unlike part-day programs where one set of teachers can provide continuous care, programs operating eight or more hours need to hire additional staff and coordinate schedules to cover the extended hours. Six of the grantees hire full-time staff who are expected to work 8-hour shifts. The staff stagger their starting times to cover the entire day. For instance, one staff member may start at 7:30 a.m. and work until 4:00 p.m., the second staff member may start at 8:00 and work until 4:30, and the third may start at 9:00 and end at 5:30. The exact hours vary both within and across grantees depending on the needs of each particular center and classroom. All of these programs supplement full-time staff with part-time help. The part-time assistants help out, as needed, sometimes covering early morning and late afternoon hours as well as acting as substitutes to free teachers for training and home visits.
Another staffing plan used by one grantee involves hiring two sets of full-time staff, one for the morning and one for the afternoon portions of the program. These full-time staff spend 6½ hours in the classroom per day, with the remaining 1½ hours used for planning and home visits. In addition, two part-time "morning only" teachers cover the hours before 8:00. When these "morning only" staff are relieved by full-time staff, they fill in for teachers in other classrooms so the teachers can have their planning time.
The grantee that offers part-day Head Start and then transports children to another facility — the connected care arrangement — also uses two separate sets of staff, one hired by Head Start and the other not.
Issues of Funding
True to the intent of Head Start, each of the grantees has pulled together funding from Federal, state, and local sources to provide full-day services. Some use only 2 sources of funding to pay for full-day services and others use as many as 17. No two grantees use the same combination of funding and, as a result, each has developed its own way to manage and account for revenues and expenditures.
Fiscal Management Strategies
Among the eight grantees visited, there were five variations in the ways funds from various sources were managed (Exhibit 3). It was expected that allocating costs from multiple funding sources would pose accounting complexities for the grantees. What was found, however, was that with one exception, the grantees that received funding from many sources had worked out one or another method to simplify the accounting and reporting process. Finding ways to simplify the allocation process highlights again the leadership qualities of these directors. In many cases, negotiations with state officers and regional Head Start staff were required to approve allocation procedures. Solutions were found, in large part, due to the persistence and creativity of these directors.
The first of the five methods, which is used by two grantees, involves dividing costs among collaborating agencies. Under this scenario, Head Start and its collaborators decide up front which source will pay for what functions, and those sources then pay their costs directly. The grantees use Head Start funds to cover assigned "Head Start" costs only: They manage funds from this single funding source alone. By keeping the costs separate, grantees greatly simplify the accounting process.
One grantee using this strategy (Moorhead, IA) has a written agreement with Job Corps stipulating that Job Corps will pay for all facilities-related costs and the salaries of the cook and the secretary. Job Corps pays these costs directly, and the Head Start grantee pays for the remaining costs of operating the full- day program.
[Exhibit 3 here is a chart of grantee fiscal management strategies.]
The other grantee using this strategy (Seattle, WA) has created agreements with its subcontractors — child care centers and family child care homes — so that the grantee iscies) handle monies from multiple sources.
In the other four strategies, Head Start grantees manage monies from multiple sources, but allocate the costs in different ways. One grantee (Elmsford, NY) has worked out a fiscal management strategy that does not require cost allocation of line items: All revenue is pooled into a single account from which all expenses are paid. This system has been approved by the state as well as by the Head Start regional office.
Another grantee (Christianburg, VA) has separated line items into groups: Some line items are allocated totally to one source and others to another source. In fact, Head Start funds pay for all line items but one, "child care costs." This is paid by the CCDBG grant.
Two of the grantees use a single allocation formula to assign the costs of all line items across all funding sources. In one case (Visalia, CA), the formula reflects the proportion responsible for paying a certain set of "Head Start" costs and the subcontractors (non-Head Start agen of funding from each of the sources (i.e., 63 percent of all costs are allocated to Head Start, 22 percent to general child care, and 15 percent to state preschool). In the other case (Gainesville, FL) the formula is based on the percentage of children participating in each funding source's program (65 percent Head Start and 35 percent state prekindergarten). In each case, all line items are allocated according to the formula, whether or not the funding source specifically requires that line item expenditure. For example, the cost of a social services coordinator is allocated across all sources, even though state programs may not require the services of such an individual.
Finally, two grantees use multiple allocation formulas. In one instance (Dayton, OH), some line items (e.g., teachers, supplies) are assigned wholly to one funding source, and other shared line items (e.g., food, custodial services) are allocated by formula across funding sources. In the other instance (Bowling Green, KY), each line item is allocated to funding sources according to the proportion of it benefiting children paid for by each funding source. Multiple formulas are required, and the director has carefully examined each item to determine its appropriate formula. The director maintains that, technically, wraparound programs such as hers must prorate every cost item, and she reported that the national Head Start office has not provided the degree of clarity or support on allocations for full-day costs that would allow grantees to experiment with simplified accounting methods.
Loss of Eligibility for Non-Head Start Funding
For five of the eight programs (see Exhibit 4), receipt of full-day services is generally contingent on parental employment status; parents must be working or in training for their children to qualify for full-day services.7 For these grantees, when parents stop working or drop out of school, even temporarily, their children become ineligible for other sources of funds that are used to pay for the expanded Head Start hours. The programs need to find other funds to pay for these children or drop them from the full-day programs.
Each grantee has developed its own way to deal with this situation, realizing that it faces a difficult dilemma. Keeping the children in full-day slots makes the most sense for the child (the benefits from continuity of care are well documented). On the other hand, there are many other parents who are at work or in training and struggling to find quality full-day care for their children. Why should these children be denied full-day services when the children who are no longer eligible could go home to their parents?
Three grantees indicated that when parents lose eligibility, they try to find funding to keep children in full-day services. If they are unable to do so, the child goes to a half-day program. A fourth grantee automatically transfers children to a part-day program when changes in a parent's work/school status cause a child to become ineligible for full-day services. The remaining grantee (a connected care provider) must discontinue the extended care services unless the parents can pay for this care themselves.
[Exhibit 4 here describes funding issues faced by grantees.]
Changing eligibility also causes other financial complications for grantees. If programs are not notified about parental ineligibility in a timely manner, grantees continue to provide services. When the grantee later submits a voucher for reimbursement, payment is denied. The grantee has provided the service and paid the staff and other expenses, but is ineligible for reimbursement. In this situation, grantees are left "holding the bag."
For example, at one site, the grantee staff reported having difficulties due to eligibility-related phenomena, in a variety of circumstances. These include the following:
- A parent finds a job and needs care immediately, yet it takes several days or even weeks for the grantee to receive verification of the child's eligibility. No payments are available during the waiting period.
- A caseworker verbally confirms a child's eligibility but when the computer printout listing eligible children arrives, the child's name is not on it. The grantee will not be paid until the correction is made. This can take up to 2 months.
- A child becomes ineligible for services but neither the caseworker nor the parents notify the grantee in a timely manner. The grantee will not be reimbursed for services provided after eligibility is lost.
For six of the eight grantees we visited, payments to cover the extended portion of the Head Start day are reimbursed retrospectively (see Exhibit 4). These retrospective reimbursements often cause cash-flow problems when expenses need to be covered before funding is received. Some grantees deal with this situation by temporarily shifting funds from another part of their program until the reimbursements come in. Other grantees rely on their sponsoring agencies to bail them out. All of the directors who are subject to retrospective reimbursements feel that this situation is a continuing problem that consumes significant amounts of time and energy.
In one case, it was reported that reimbursements have been a growing problem for contracted providers. The state subsidy is paid on the basis of daily attendance. Enrollment figures are reported to the state in June but the subsidy is not paid until August. Because August is the month of large increases in enrollment and cost as parents plan for the upcoming school year, the amount received as reimbursement is significantly below costs to be incurred. The contracted providers are in the process of working out an arrangement with the state that will allow child care providers to estimate the numbers of children they will serve and get paid in advance.
For grantees that rely on many funding sources to cover the expenses of full-day programs, shortfalls and late payments often produce situations in which there is not enough money to pay the bills. This may be a temporary phenomenon resulting from a delay in reimbursements or a more long-term problem that results from costs simply exceeding revenues.
The grantees participating in this study have devised a variety of options to deal with this situation. For the one grantee where child care reimbursement rates exceed Head Start allotments, the only time the grantee faces a funding shortfall is when children leave the program before replacements can be enrolled. For days when the program is "short on children," expenses continue to be realized (the teacher must be paid regardless of the number of children in the room) but reimbursements for the children present do not cover costs. In this circumstance, the grantee relies on its sponsoring agency (the superintendent of schools) to pick up the tab.
Other programs indicate that reimbursement rates from some Federal sources are simply too low to maintain a program that meets Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day. For instance, child-staff ratios and staffing patterns that are allowable under these other programs often fail to meet Head Start requirements. In some of these cases, parent fees are used to make up the difference between reimbursement rates and costs. Even with additional fees, one director still occasionally runs into short-term cash shortages and relies on the grantee's sponsoring agency as payer of last resort.
Other grantees make ends meet by collecting funds from more than one source to pay for full-day services. In places where full-day reimbursements are available for 25 hours or more of care per week, grantees can sometimes collect full-day reimbursement for the non-Head Start portion of the day. To illustrate, if a child is in a full-day program for nine hours a day, four of those hours are considered Head Start hours and are fully funded by Head Start: In addition, the child is eligible for full-day reimbursement for the remaining five hours. Grantees pursuing this strategy indicate that they need this additional funding to maintain Head Start quality throughout the day; reimbursements from other sources are almost always too low to maintain Head Start standards.
Until recently, one grantee relied on additional full-day funding to avoid chronic funding shortages for its infant-toddler program. These children's care was paid for entirely through the state's publicly funded child care account, but the money did not cover all the expenses of the program. Therefore, grantee staff asked each AFDC-eligible parent with a child in Head Start full- day care to apply for publicly funded child care money. For accounting purposes, the grantee defined Head Start as a 4-hour program and in addition, collected a full day of child care subsidy because the children were provided care for 5 hours longer than the designated Head Start time. This additional payment more than covered the costs of full-day services for 3- to 5-year-olds. Any funds that were not spent for 3- to 5-year- olds were placed in a special corporate account. At the end of the year, when the monies became general corporate funds, the grantee used them to offset the loss that its books showed for the infant-toddler program.8
Yet another, faced with a similar problem, continues to collect full-day reimbursements for the non-Head Start portion of the day. Grantees that are collecting full-day reimbursements for the part of the day that is not financed by Head Start indicated that they have been operating within the rules established by the funding sources when requesting reimbursements.
Four grantees collect parent fees to cover the portion of the day that is not funded by Head Start. For some, these fees are required by other funding sources. All fees are income- contingent. One director mentioned that parent fees are an important source of revenue but generate a conflict for the program when Head Start parents are delinquent in their payments. These situations force the director to abandon her role as family advocate and adopt the role of debt collector in order to meet the program's expenses. Yet another director facing the same circumstance, indicated that the staff were uncomfortable with their collection responsibilities.
In-kind contributions are an important source of revenue for Head Start grantees. How much of non-Federal share, if any, should be prorated between Head Start and other funding sources has been an issue only for the grantee that allocates each line item. The director pointed out that if she prorates in-kind facilities donations, a significant portion of the grantee's in- kind contributions, she would have to find other ways to meet in- kind requirements. Because no other funding sources require in- kind contributions, the director now allocates the entire amount to Head Start. Again, the director feels that some guidance from the Head Start national office would be helpful on this issue.
Equitable Pay Scales
Grantees that provide full-day services are also grappling with how to provide equitable compensation to all classroom teachers—both teachers paid by Head Start as well as those paid by other sources. In general, the grantees have attempted to find ways to fairly compensate all staff. This has been a problem for some grantees because Head Start can and does provide salary increases that outpace increases and adjustments from other sources.
All grantees have devised systems that attempt to equalize pay for all teachers. Some of the grantees have a single pay scale and pass the raise on to all employees (see Exhibit 4). For example, one grantee passes raises on to all employees using the standard allocation formula devised for all budget line items.
Others try to match Head Start salary increases with funding from other sources. In one case, the grantee has been able to match all Head Start raises with monies from other sources in order to maintain equity in pay. In another case, a grantee attempts to use resources obtained through its collaborators to maintain comparable salaries.
A third approach to pay equity has been to devise a unified pay classification system for all teachers and other child care providers. When the director is able to, she assigns less experienced teachers with lower salary rates to non-Head Start classrooms. She can then legitimately pay more to Head Start teachers because they have more experience and more duties, such as home visits and parent involvement activities.
Pay equity has been a difficult issue for some connected care providers. These providers feel they are treated unfairly because they are paid less than the Head Start teachers. The grantee has no way to equalize salaries, because the connected care providers receive funding to care for Head Start children from a third party. The director feels that issues of pay inequity fuel petty complaints by some connected care providers and may cause these providers to treat Head Start children not as well as non-Head Start children.
Issues of Program Management
Building on Head Start to provide full-day programs also requires grantees to deal with management-related issues, including finding and preparing facilities when using multiple funding sources and ensuring quality care from contracted providers.
Several issues related to facilities limit grantees' ability to expand full-day services. In many ways, the facilities issues for full-day programs are no different from those faced by part- day programs looking to expand services. Yet differences do exist. First, by running double sessions, part-day programs can serve twice as many children in the same space as full-day programs. Second, full-day programs need to be conveniently located for parents who are working or in training; parents faced with tight work schedules need facilities convenient to main routes or public transportation. And third, licensing requirements may include larger per student space requirements for full-day programs. Classrooms need to be large enough to set up cots or allow other sleeping arrangements for naptime.
One grantee reports that finding facilities that meet licensing requirements is a major obstacle. For this grantee, local land values prohibit the purchase of facilities even though Head Start now allows this activity. Rental property, which is also scarce, is so expensive as to be prohibitive. The director is continually looking for space to rent and sees this lack of facilities as the grantee's largest obstacle to expanding full- day services.
Other grantees indicated that the costs of renovating or installing portable or modular buildings requires more up-front funding than they can afford. The alternative to the grantee's paying for these costs is to find a funding partner. The directors report that grant writing, which can take up significant amounts of time, is often without a payoff — they do not get the funding. Several directors felt that writing grants was not the best use of their time.
Still another grantee had trouble fulfilling the requirements and gaining approvals for extensive renovations required to convert an old college dormitory to a child care facility. When Head Start entered into an agreement with Job Corps, all decisions regarding renovations of the facility had to be approved by both organizations. The directors of Head Start and Job Corps reported that approvals were required from regional and national offices of both programs and that Federal staff often did not agree with one another. This greatly slowed down the renovation process and required considerable time and energy on the part of the Head Start and Job Corps directors. In fact, it took nearly 2 years to complete the renovations of the center — a delay of nearly 1 year — due in large part to continual problems in approving small changes.
Grantees have begun to work closely with local licensing agencies in order to facilitate the process of opening new full- day facilities. For example, one grantee chose to purchase modular buildings, which are designed especially for the provision of full-day Head Start. Staff sent the proposed blueprints to the licensing agency in advance of the purchase to ensure that all licensing requirements would be met.
Quality in Contracted Care
Another management-related issue that was raised during the site visits was assessing and ensuring quality care when contracted providers are involved. For grantees that use the wrap-in care model, all contracted providers indicated a desire to follow Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day. Quality in these programs is assessed using standard Head Start tools — the Self-Assessment Validation Instrument (SAVI) and On- Site Program Review Instrument (OSPRI). However, it became apparent that for new providers, meeting all Head Start standards, especially those related to facilities and training, takes some time. One grantee reported that new providers often did poorly on their first OSPRI because of the level of changes required to comply with all Head Start Performance Standards. It was suggested that allowing flexibility in the time frame for meeting standards for new wrap-in providers would help bring them into full compliance with Head Start standards and practices.
Quality of services provided is, however, a major concern for the one grantee we visited that uses the connected care model. In the case of connected care situations, Head Start does not have any say in how the connected programs are run and to what standards of quality they conform. The director felt that the quality of care provided by many connected providers would not meet Head Start standards because, in large part, many higher-quality providers in the area would not care for Head Start children because of the low reimbursement rates set by the state for use by Head Start grantees in connected care situations. Yet the director felt she had no choice but to use lesser-quality providers because lesser-quality care was better than no care at all.
Issues of Collaboration
Collaboration is the means by which each of the eight grantees has been able to organize and fund its full-day programs. Some of the grantees have formalized arrangements with other agencies and providers and other grantees rely on informal networks to help maintain the full-day classrooms. Entering into partnerships with other agencies and programs appears, for the most part, to be working well. Some of this success is due to the high profile the directors have within the larger child care community; collaborating with other agencies and programs is how these directors do business.
Problems stemming from collaborations usually arise from the need to report to multiple bureaucracies and funding sources that each have their own rules and regulations. Grantees have described differences in income guidelines, attendance policies for reimbursement, and eligibility as other areas where multiple requirements become an administrative burden.
Each of the eight grantees visited has successfully built full-day services for a group of Head Start children. The directors of the wraparound and wrap-in programs believe that their services meet Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day; the director of the connected care model strives to build partnerships with high-quality providers but does not always succeed because of the relatively low reimbursement rate she is authorized to pay.
Grantee staff reported their solutions to the issues of structuring group learning activities in the afternoon, conducting all required home visits, involving parents in the program, providing training to classroom staff, scheduling the work hours of classroom staff to cover the full day, managing multiple funding sources, and creating lasting interagency collaborations. Potential barriers in the funding area were the most significant for grantees, including the loss of a child's eligibility for funding due to a change in parental status, problematic cash flow when funding sources reimbursed expenditures, and insufficient revenues to cover costs. At the least, grantee staff work closely with staff from other funding sources to ensure the necessary cash flow. When it is possible, grantees create agreements for payment of services that ease the burden on them (e.g., arrangements that divide the costs among agencies so line items need not be allocated, agreements that cost allocation for each line item should follow a single formula, or an agreement that costs need not be allocated at all).
One common characteristic of these grantee directors was a willingness to question "the system." If they faced a barrier to the delivery of high-quality services to children and families, they found a way to overcome it. Most have the energy and ability of entrepreneurs to build a successful venture and keep on striving to make it all it can be — the best possible service for children and families.
In all likelihood, Head Start programs across the country will be following in the footsteps of the eight grantees that we visited as they forge partnerships with other agencies and programs to offer full-day services to their families. Throughout this process, grantees will be looking toward the Federal office for guidance in designing and supporting these new efforts. This study provides information about the barriers to service provision that are associated with three different approaches to providing full-day services. Exhibit 5, which summarizes some of the main findings from this study, was designed to assist policymakers in thinking about the characteristics of each model and their implications for both the grantees and Federal staff.
Chapter III: Planning and Policy Issues
In this chapter, planning and policy choices for Federal Head Start administrators are organized into three groups, according to the principal themes discussed by grantee staff who deliver full-day services:
- Making Head Start services as responsive as possible to the needs of families;
- Delivering the highest possible quality of services to children and families and extending this quality to the work lives of staff; and
- Supporting flexibility in policies so that staff can respond to the circumstances of their own communities.
Each of these themes recurs frequently in discussions of the philosophy and implementation of Head Start, whether written in the Head Start Performance Standards or spoken in meetings or conferences. It is the purpose of this chapter to tie these themes to particular issues and actions within the offering of full-day Head Start services.
Following a discussion of these themes is a description of further research activities that can enhance our understanding of full-day Head Start services.
Meeting the Needs of Head Start Families
Head Start is based on the premise that its services must meet the needs of both children and families. Its goal is to help families become more self-sufficient. Its components, for example, cover required services in the education and health areas for children and in the social services and parent involvement areas for adults. But many of the funding sources that are used by grantees to extend the Head Start day are more narrowly focused on funding the child care that is necessary for the adult to be involved in a job or in a training program. These other programs do not focus on the comprehensive needs of the child and of the family. Specifically, AFDC/JOBS focuses on supporting one aspect of the transition of adults from welfare to work by funding child care so that parents are able to attend training programs or school and engage in job search activities. Likewise, CCDBG child care funding is designed to serve the child care needs of low-income working parents by providing a safe environment for their children.
However, the desire to meet the needs of families creates three principal difficulties for Head Start grantees that use wraparound or wrap-in funding. First, judgments of child eligibility for services that depends on the activities of the parent all too often results in a lack of stability for the child. Pulling together funding from a variety of sources can and does lead to the situation where a child may have to switch care arrangements — from a full-day to a part-day program — in the middle of the year due to parental loss of eligibility for service. For instance, when an AFDC/JOBS parent registers for a course, enters the child in a full-day Head Start class, and then discovers the course has been cancelled, his or her child may have to be moved to another classroom or program because AFDC/JOBS will not, under these parental circumstances, pay for the child's care. Likewise, when a parent completes school or a training program and is looking for work, AFDC/JOBS will pay only for care that is reasonably related to the parents activity; in many states, this practice means part-day care and that the child's care situation has to change.
To promote the ability of grantees to serve the need of children to have a stable long-term program of services, grantee staff would like guidance from Head Start concerning approved actions they can take. Would it be possible for Head Start to pay for a child's full-time placement when the parent is waiting for a program to begin, is in a hiatus between parts of a continuing program, or is engaged in a job search? For instance, Head Start grantees might request part-day funding for Head Start, with the intent of using wraparound or wrap-in funding for full-day services, and might request an allotment of funds for full-day services for any family in a hiatus in funding. Perhaps these issues can be addressed directly in the forthcoming guidance (NPRM) from Head Start on the new IV-A regulation.
Second, when Head Start staff know the circumstances of a family, sometimes staff believe that the child and family would significantly benefit from a full-day program, yet the family does not qualify under the requirements of other funding sources. The instances in which grantee staff make this observation could be broadly subsumed under the rubric of "significant family stress." For example, if a parent is struggling with a drug problem and the child is frequently with a grandparent or a neighbor who is having trouble providing continual care, grantee staff may wish to place the child in a full-day classroom. Homeless children and those served by child protective services might also fall into this category. Yet the family may not qualify for any wraparound funding. The suggestion from grantees, then, is that Head Start extend the approved list of reasons for children to be placed in full-day classrooms to include instances of significant family stress (as determined by grantee staff).
The family need for convenience in care arrangements is imbedded in the reality of the time constraints on parents when they must deliver their children to child care or school in the morning and themselves to work or a training program. It is a lot easier to accomplish this daily task if all children go to the same location or different buildings in close proximity. The director in Dayton, OH, reported that one mother takes three buses each morning to deliver her children to care and herself to work. Because decisions concerning Head Start's program for infants and toddlers are still being made, grantees provided input by stating their goal that Head Start allow grantees to provide full-day care for infants and toddlers, should grantees be awarded a new Early Head Start grant. Head Start grantees, therefore, would prefer to set up classrooms for infants and children up to 5 years old in the same building or place children in this age range in nearby family child care homes.
Ensuring High-Quality Services for Children, Parents, and Staff
All grantees visited agreed that it is essential to offer high-quality services to Head Start children and families. They felt strongly that it is possible to deliver high-quality services in a full-day program and that Head Start's Performance Standards can be met throughout the day. However, delivery of high-quality services is easier in some models of full-day care than in others. The wraparound model is the easiest because Head Start staff are in charge of the entire program for children and parents; they are well versed in the program's philosophy and regulations and can ensure that standards are met.
The wrap-in model, in which Head Start staff add services to existing child care programs, makes delivery of high-quality services somewhat more difficult. It may take time for the teachers in these programs to complete appropriate training and implement high-quality programs. It may also take time for staff to develop successful parent involvement strategies and for parents to become involved. Therefore, grantees suggest that the Head Start Bureau allow time for grantees to phase Head Start into existing child care settings before expecting all regulations to be met. In addition, clear expectations for the phase-in period should be stated in the On-Site Program Review Instrument.
The connected care model is the most difficult from a quality standpoint because Head Start staff are not in charge of implementing the connected care program. The one grantee director visited who used such a model said that although she would prefer to contract only with high-quality providers of child care, she does not always succeed due to lower than market reimbursement rates. Her goal is to create and forge such strong linkages in the community that all child care providers will move into the high-quality range. However, this is a long-term goal. She believes that Head Start may need to provide additional funding to grantees who use a connected care model to allow them to offer training, equipment, and materials to their contracted providers so that Head Start children are assured of high-quality care in all of their care settings.
The logistics of carrying out a high-quality program for parents who are in school or training programs or are working have posed difficulties for grantees as they move from part-day to full-day programs; working parents just do not have the same amount of time and energy to devote to Head Start activities. In response, grantees have developed new and creative ways to provide all aspects of Head Start for their full-day families. For instance, all grantees agree on the importance of the parent involvement component of the program. As cited in Chapter II, many grantees have developed successful strategies for working with parents. Several staff members, especially those associated with family child care homes, said that they felt they had especially strong relationships with parents because they had daily contact with most parents who drop off and pick up their children. During arrival and departure hours, staff and parents exchange a good deal of information about the children, child rearing, and family circumstances. Therefore, the staff felt that parents were involved, even though staff could not report parent classroom time or attendance at meetings that would clearly demonstrate the involvement. At the same time, all staff were interested in suggestions for ways to involve parents further. Staff encouraged Head Start to continue to develop materials concerning parent involvement including strategies for working parents and to hold workshops on the topic, because they wanted to hear about as many successful strategies as possible.
Several issues discussed by grantees under the topic of high-quality service delivery related particularly to the quality of the work lives of teaching staff in full-day programs. Like staff in part-day classrooms, these staff must prepare the classroom for new activities, clean up from past activities, keep child records up to date, and complete home visits. These staff also would like to participate in as many hours of training as are provided for part-day staff. Yet they are with children for longer hours — in family child care homes, for as many as 10 to 12 hours a day. Directors created many arrangements to allow breaks during the day, time for record keeping, and time off to compensate for training time and evening hours spent conducting home visits. But these same directors point out that it is costly to pay for additional staff or substitutes. They would like to see Head Start state in policies or accepted practice documents that one of the expected costs of full-day services is the cost of substitutes or additional staff to support breaks, compensatory time, and staff training time.
Finally, program staff believe that the quality of their services is enhanced by the availability of technical assistance. Staff would appreciate the chance to talk with knowledgeable people about the issues they are facing and hear suggestions about ways others have dealt with these issues. Grantee programs are not unraveling or failing in quality; however, staff often find their jobs to be stressful. Connection to a strong technical assistance staff makes grantee staff feel a part of a large network with the same goal, rather than alone in attempting to improve the lives of families. Therefore, staff would like Head Start to strengthen the technical assistance network in its ability to support full-day programs.
Creating Flexibility for Local Programs
One of the strongest messages grantees emphasized is the importance of creating guidance at a national level that is specific enough to prevent grantees from getting into trouble with reviewers and auditors, yet is flexible enough to allow them to respond to local circumstances. Many grantee directors we talked with could be classified as entrepreneurs: When they saw a need among their families, they found a way to meet it. Each one expressed appreciation for the latitude allowed by national and regional office staff and, in some cases, for the encouragement they were given to try new methods.
Two examples of the ways in which directors have responded differently to the demands of a full-day program, due to varying local circumstances, involve their scheduling of afternoon activities for children and their scheduling of staff to cover the hours in which the full-day classroom is open. Four of the grantees provided structured learning time for children in the afternoon schedule; four grantees did not. In each instance, education staff felt that they had done their best to construct a program that met Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day and that represented quality educational programs for children. But in the programs without a structured afternoon activity, there were good reasons for its absence: (1) the afternoon was short (ending at about 3:30 p.m.), and there was not sufficient time for structured activities after naps; or (2) parents began arriving at about 3:00 p.m., which meant any structured activity was interrupted and interfered with a positive transition time from Head Start to home. Staff would appreciate having Head Start set standards for high-quality full- day programs that leave the decision about afternoon programming up to each grantee.
Directors have implemented two different methods of classroom staffing to cover the hours of full-day care: (1) staggering the times that each of the paid staff begin and end their work days; and (2) hiring two separate two-person teams, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. In this instance of decisionmaking, directors have enjoyed the right to make a decision that fits their needs and staff. Directors would like to see Head Start publish suggestions of models for full-day staffing, but leave the final decision to local grantees.
A third way in which directors have responded differently to the demands of a full-day program is in the method they use to manage income from multiple funding sources. As cited in Chapter II, grantees' methods can be divided into five types:
- Grantee manages Head Start/USDA funds only — Decisions are made up front about which costs are paid by Head Start and which are paid by other agencies;
- Grantee does not allocate costs of multiple funding sources — Grantee combines all income into one fund and spends against the fund; all sources approve of this method;
- Grantee assigns each line item to one funding source — Head Start monies pay for its assigned line items; other funding pays for remaining line items;
- Grantee uses a simple allocation formula for all line items — All funding sources agree that each line item cost can be divided according to the formula; and
- Grantee uses multiple allocation formulas — Staff examine each line item and determine its appropriate allocation across funding sources.
All types of methods have passed audits and are approved by regional office contract staff. However, not all arrangements are felt to be satisfactory by grantee staff, and grantees, even those that are comfortable with their methods, feel that they could use additional guidance from the Head Start Bureau regarding the management of multiple funding sources.
The basic criteria that grantee directors used for judging the acceptability of a fiscal management strategy were its ease of use and its cost. If directors had to hire additional fiscal staff because of difficulty in using a methodology, such methodology was viewed as a barrier to their ability to deliver quality services. In other words, the money for extra fiscal staff generally came at the expense of services for children and families. The use of multiple allocation formulas (method 5) is the most expensive form of fiscal management; some grantees have simplified allocations by negotiating with all funding sources to accept a single formula for all line items (method 4). Dividing the responsibility for line items by funding sources or making up-front decisions about the charges to be paid by each source and managing exclusively Head Start funds (methods 1 and 3) were highly satisfactory to grantees and costly only in terms of the time for negotiation of agreements with other funding sources. Combining funds into one pot and spending from it (method 2) was the easiest and least expensive method.
Ideally, from grantees' viewpoints, Federal and state funding programs should come to a universal agreement to allow grantees to combine funding streams into one pot. However, for reasons of accountability, this arrangement may not be readily available. But there are ways in which Head Start can help pave the way for grantees to allocate costs among multiple sources more easily. Grantees suggest that Head Start do the following:
- Negotiate agreements at the national or state level with Job Corps, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, AFDC/JOBS, and possibly CCDBG and SSBG concerning approved principles for splitting start-up costs and ongoing expenditures for programs;
- Develop similar agreements across funding streams to cover the costs of child care during transitions of parents within or between school, training, job search, and work activities; and
- Encourage grantees to negotiate simple allocation formulas with their funding sources instead of creating complex systems to allocate each line item.
One final issue concerning funding is the difficult position in which grantees find themselves when they accept parent fees for extended hours of care. At times, these fees are a part of the copayment requirement of the second funding source; at other times, they are the responsibility of the parent because there is no other funding source. Although some argue that copays can help prepare parents for a time when child care costs will be their responsibility, collection of fees poses problems for Head Start staff. The discomfort for staff arises in part because, in general, the role of Head Start is to work with families, but when Head Start behaves as a collection agency, it is working against families. It also arises because Head Start, as a program, stipulates that parents cannot be charged for Head Start services (as do other funding sources such as AFDC). Although additional hours of care may not officially be called Head Start, they are usually delivered by the same grantee and the same staff and follow the same Head Start Performance Standards. Grantees would appreciate some dialogue on the issue of when it is appropriate to charge families for care and how it should be done, while maintaining Head Start's role of working with and for the family.
Gathering Further Information
This study provided considerable information about the delivery of full-day services by drawing upon funding from multiple sources. However, many questions regarding the provision of full-day services for Head Start children and families still remain.
First, this study could not provide information on the prevalence of full-day care and the service delivery approaches. For instance, it is not known how many children are served in wrap-around, wrap-in, and connected care programs. It is also not known from this study or from available databases the number of Head Start children who are (1) provided with care for more than 8 hours a day during the school year or a 12-month calendar year; (2) enrolled in wraparound programs cofunded by SSBG, CCDBG, AFDC/JOBS, or state child care or education funds; (3) enrolled in wrap-in programs cofunded by each potential source; or (4) enrolled in connected care, jointly funded by each source. A relatively straightforward way to gather these data would be to alter the current questions on the PIR to update the list of funding sources and gather information on numbers of children involved in full-day care.
Second, this study did not address the issue of how the various approaches to care affect the well-being of children. It is not known, for instance, how children fare when they change classrooms, locations, or providers during the day: Are there differences in the development of social competence related to stability of care setting? to stability of providers?
Third, several of the programs that were visited had co- located services for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children; all directors wanted to be able to offer this service. The directors believe that Head Start will become a more viable option for working families when all of these age groups are routinely served at the same location. The effect of co-locating services on enrollment in Head Start and on family progress toward self-sufficiency are important issues that may be addressed in further research: Do more families choose to enroll their preschool-age children in Head Start when they can also place younger children in the facility? Do families make more progress toward self-sufficiency when all of their child care needs are met in one location?
And finally, this study did not collect any information on care arrangements for Head Start children that parents arrange for themselves. It is not known how many Head Start children are cared for by relatives before and after the Head Start day, how the siblings of Head Start children are cared for, or how many parents work non-traditional hours and need alternative care arrangements for their children.
All of these are important issues for Head Start staff and families alike and can only be addressed with further research. In consequence, the final recommendation is that Head Start examine these research questions concerning full-day services as it sets a research agenda for the next decade.
Visits to eight Head Start grantees that offer full-day services to children enabled the differentiation of three basic approaches for service delivery. In wraparound care, grantees provided a core set of Head Start services around which they added hours of child care paid for by other sources. In wrap-in care, grantee staff used child care services paid for by another source as the core of full-day care and added to the core all services that were needed to meet Head Start Performance Standards. In connected care, grantee staff provided Head Start services to children in the morning and transported children to an afternoon care setting that did not meet Head Start Performance Standards.
Grantees raised a number of issues related to the delivery of services under each approach, including the administration and management of the arrangement, the substance of the program for children and families, funding arrangements, difficulties in collaboration, and methods of meeting family needs for infant and toddler care. These issues were then converted into possible policy and planning decisions that Head Start could make to ease the process of providing full-day services and to encourage more grantees to try the full-day model. Such policy and planning decisions included ways to improve response to the needs of families; deliver high-quality services for children, parents, and staff; and offer further guidance that would prevent grantee problems yet allows local flexibility in implementation.
The grantees who offer full-day services are committed to this mode of service delivery. It meets the needs of families, and grantees have found ways to deliver high-quality services through funding arrangements that work for them and their other funding sources. The directors of these grantees may be described as entrepreneurs, because they have forged new partnerships and developed new funding arrangements to enable them to offer full-day services. Their experiences can help clarify options for others who now follow in their footsteps.
Westchester Community Opportunity Program
ELMSFORD, NEW YORK
ELLEN FARRAR, DIRECTOR
The Westchester Community Opportunity program (WCOP) in suburban New York operates a full-day Head Start program for over 800 children. Head Start children share classrooms with non-Head Start children; and comprehensive services are provided to all children, following Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day. Funding for full-day services is provided by a variety of sources, including Federal, state, and local ones. WCOP has developed strong ties with other local agencies that provide services to poor children. These groups share a common goal of providing services to all children in need and view Head Start as the "infrastructure" for providing services.
- Auspices: Community action agency
- Area served: Suburban
- Head Start funded enrollment: 1,970
- Head Start full-day enrollment:828
- Full-day care providers: Grantee and delegate agencies
- Non-Head Start funding sources: SSBG (Title XX); CCDBG; AFDC/JOBS; McKinney funds; HUD grant; United Way, parent fees, etc.
The Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WCOP) is comprised of one grantee and five delegate agencies. WCOP serves 25 communities in Westchester County, an affluent bedroom community of New York City with growing reservoirs of poverty spilling over from the city's boundaries. The total funded enrollment for the grantee and delegate agencies is 1,970 children; and both the grantee and the delegate agencies provide full-day services for Head Start as well as non-Head Start children. In all, full-day services are provided for 828 Head Start children.
The WCOP philosophy is to supply services to children in need. Therefore, in the delivery of services, the grantee does not distinguish between Head Start and non-Head Start children. The Head Start director indicated that Head Start provides the infrastructure for delivering services to poor children, and regardless of the funding source, Head Start Performance Standards are followed for all children and for all services.
In recent years, WCOP has dealt with a growing population of homeless children as well as infants and toddlers of drug abusing parents. WCOP is part of a number of programs, including an HHS McKinney demonstration project, that support these children. Both the Head Start director and the executive director of the County Child Care Council feel that today's most pressing needs are for services for infants and toddlers. That feeling emanates from the fact that if these high-risk children (e.g., homeless, drug exposed) do not receive services before their third birthday, long-term, permanent damage in their cognitive, social, and physical development will occur, thus causing the required level of services for these children to increase greatly.
History of the Full-Day Program
WCOP has been offering full-day services since the inception of the program 30 years ago. At that time, full-day services were offered by only one center. Through the community needs assessment process, it became apparent that parents could not attain economic self-sufficiency without full-day care options for their children. Thus, the number of full-day slots has grown to meet the changing needs of the community. For the past 12 years, the majority of centers have offered the full-day option.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
WCOP provides two different scheduling options for full-day services. Working parents are offered 10 hours of care a day, while parents in school or job training are offered 8 hours of care. Eight hours of care also are provided to homeless children and children in the care of the Child Protective Services. The exact hours when care begins and ends varies across centers. The vast majority of full-day classes operate year round, closing only for 12 Federal holidays. Of the 828 Head Start children in full-day care, almost 90 percent (736 children) have care year round.
There is a waiting list for full-day services, the longest being for infant and toddler care. Priority for full-day slots is determined by a variety of criteria. If the mother is in substance abuse treatment, if the family is homeless, or if the mother is working or in training, full-day services are provided. Priority is assigned according to special needs, low-income status, and then on a first come – first served basis. The Head Start director would like to provide more full-day services, but finding space for appropriate facilities is a major obstacle.
Full-day services are delivered by WCOP, without specific contracts or agreements with other agencies. However, over the years, WCOP has developed excellent working relationships with other county agencies that serve poor children and provide child care services. The Head Start director works closely with the executive director of the County Child Care Council as well as with the Department of Social Services. These three groups function as a team to find ways to provide services wherever gaps occur. The Head Start director also is involved in county-level planning that will affect services to poor children and low- income families. Overall, the child care coordinator for the county describes WCOP and its partners as a unified early childhood community.
The Head Start director also has an excellent working relationship with the regional office. In fact, the director indicated that many of her successes in expanding and upgrading services would not have been possible without the support of the regional office.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
All of the children in full-day care are in center-based programs, where they remain in the same classroom and with the same staff all day. Head Start Performance Standards are followed throughout the day; and all classes serve both Head Start and non-Head Start children, all of whom, regardless of Head Start enrollment, receive comprehensive services.
WCOP owns one facility and rents space or has space donated for all of its other classrooms. When Head Start rents space in other child care centers, WCOP furnishes the staff to run the program. Thus, all of the teachers in Head Start classrooms are WCOP employees.
The daily schedule of activities varies from classroom to classroom. After the traditional Head Start morning program, the children have nap or quiet time, followed by a snack. Late afternoon's involve some group activities (usually circle time) and free play.
Each 10-hour session is staffed with 3 teachers who stagger their hours (one teacher may work from 7:30-3:30, another from 8:30-4:40, and yet another from 9:30-5:30) in order to provide coverage whenever it is needed. In addition, WCOP employs a "floating teacher" to provide breaks. The 8-hour sessions employ two teachers and usually have a volunteer who "covers" during break times. Most centers also have a "floater" on staff to fill in wherever necessary. The component staff regularly switch their hours from a.m. to p.m., to insure availability for early as well as late arriving and departing parents.
When the program first began, one of the most daunting challenges to providing full-day services was developing a method to treat all staff fairly vis a vis salary and benefits. Now, all staff employed by WCOP, both Head Start and non-Head Start, are paid according to one scale. All teachers also are provided the same training; and only teachers paid by the school districts have higher salaries. This does not appear to pose a problem, as school-based teachers are hired almost exclusively from Head Start programs. The successful and more experienced Head Start teachers have come to view these school-based positions as promotion possibilities.
The Head Start director feels that a lot of the success of her program can be attributed to the high quality of the staff. Unlike many communities, WCOP is able to attract many well educated, professionally trained staff who are willing and able to accept the low wages typically paid to early childhood workers.
Home visits are done in the evenings or on weekends, and teachers are provided compensatory time for these extra hours. Scheduling home visits continues to be a difficult issue for the grantee, however.
All WCOP staff, whether they are paid by Head Start or other funds, receive the same training. Joint training sessions are held by Head Start and the Child Care Council; and all staff are monitored and evaluated just as if they are Head Start staff. In Westchester, all staff are encouraged to complete a CDA, which many non-Head Start staff have earned.
Scheduling training is quite difficult in the full-day programs. WCOP closes its full-day Head Start program for two days a year for training. Most of the other training takes place at the centers, often during naptime and with the help of volunteers. In instances where teachers need to leave the center for training, substitutes are hired.
As many of the parents work or are in training during the day, volunteering in the classroom poses problems. To accommodate the schedule of parents who are working or in training, many parent activities take place in the evenings. In addition, whenever parents' work or training overlaps with Head Start functions, parents are encouraged to use their skills in the Head Start environment. For instance, if a parent is receiving training related to food service preparation, he or she is encouraged to volunteer at the center kitchen.
Full-day parents are well represented on the Head Start Policy Council. Just as the classrooms have both Head Start and non-Head Start children, the Policy Council has Head Start and non-Head Start parents: The role of the non-Head Start parents on the policy council is the same as the role of the Head Start parents: They participate equally in all activities, including the hiring of staff.
WCOP receives funding from many sources. In addition to Head Start funds, these include SSBG (Title XX), CCDBG, JOBS, Teen Pregnancy, State Grants, BOCES, McKinney funds, HUD demonstration grant, United Way, Community Development Grants, and USDA reimbursements. Income-contingent parent fees also are collected, as required by funding sources other than Head Start. This year, WCOP received quality improvement funds from Head Start, which were used in several ways: to pay for a contracts coordinator, to upgrade mental health services, and to increase staff salaries.
In addition, WCOP receives in-kind donations from the community, including space, playground equipment, and durable goods (e.g., clothing, furniture). The "downside" of this is keeping track of the in-kind donations (as Head Start requires), which means a large paperwork burden for the grantee.
All full-day families are subject to fees that vary by income. Families pay between 2 and 30 dollars a week (the average is about 15). Parent fees become part of the "general revenue pot," just like all other funding, and are usually collected weekly, according to a fee scale set by the county.
WCOP has taken an unusual approach to funding full-day services. All funds are placed in a central pool from which all expenses are paid — a process approved and supported by the regional office even though WCOP does not allocate costs to the different funding sources. WCOP has been operating its program this way for many years and has worked with state and local officials to change regulations that limit their ability to use this accounting method.
All of the teachers, both Head Start and non-Head Start, are employees of WCOP, which pays all of its employees according to the same scale, with all of the salary rates blended together. In addition, WCOP has been able to provide the same cost-of- living increases to all employees.
The only time salaries vary is if care is provided by non- WCOP employees. For instance, when Head Start pays for one or more classrooms in a non-WCOP center, the non-WCOP center is the employer for the providers in the non-Head Start classrooms and usually pays a lower salary. The directors of these centers are working to bring the salaries of their teachers in non-Head Start classrooms in line with WCOP salaries.
On the other hand, if the classroom is in a public school setting, like BOCES, the non-Head Start teachers are paid a higher salary commensurate with other public school teachers (these teachers usually have to have a Bachelors degree). As previously stated, these public school positions are viewed as promotion potential by Head Start teachers.
A computerized accounting system that was customized to accommodate the large number of sites on which they maintain data is used by WCOP; and a full-time administrative person keeps track of the financial data. The differing administrative requirements of the various funding sources generates a great deal of paperwork for the grantee. However, if guidelines were standardized across programs this process could be simplified. At present, the USDA, Head Start, and the state Department of Social Services all have different guidelines for program participation.
For some children in full-day services, WCOP receives both Head Start and full child care subsidies. In this situation, the money is used to provide additional services or to provide services to additional children, and is incorporated into the central pool.
In accordance with their central budgeting policy, WCOP has one policy for reimbursement according to attendance. Children can miss up to 12 days of Head Start per quarter before loss of funding occurs.
Differences in the reimbursement structures — prospective versus retrospective payments — are problematic for program operation. The grantee must meet its payroll and pay its bills in a timely fashion, and reimbursements do not always arrive soon enough to keep cash flow smooth.
The Head Start director is very pleased that full-day services are being provided to so many children and that Head Start provides a model of service delivery that can be used throughout the early childhood community. The director feels that there are still more children that would benefit from full- day care, particularly infants and toddlers; however, the lack of availability of appropriate facilities is a major obstacle to her plans to continually expand the program. Land values are very high in Westchester County and unoccupied space is scarce. Issues of staff training and parent involvement remain somewhat problematic, but the grantee is determined to find ways to make the program continue to work.
Western Kentucky University Child Care Consortium
BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY
COLLEEN MENDEL, DIRECTOR
The Western Kentucky University Child Care Consortium (WKUCCC) operates a full-day center-based Head Start program for 34 children, covering the university cachement area in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Head Start children are served together in the same classrooms with non-Head Start preschoolers, and Program Performance Standards are followed throughout the day for all children. WKUCCC relies on a number of additional funding sources to provide its wraparound services, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), SSBG (Title XX), and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) support for individual parents, and sliding scale parent fees that are charged for the child care portion of the day.
- Auspices: Private non-profit
- Area served: Suburban
- Head Start funded enrollment: 152
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 54
- Full-day care provider: Grantee and one delegate agency
- Non-Head Start funding sources: CCDBG; SSBG (Title XX); AFDC/JOBS; parent fees
The Western Kentucky University Child Care Consortium (WKUCCC) Head Start program serves a total of 22 counties in Western Kentucky through one grantee and two delegate agencies (each of which are grantee agencies in their own right). The object of the site visit was the WKUCCC grantee in Bowling Green — a program serving 51 Head Start children, 34 of whom receive full-day service. Full-day service also is provided to approximately 20 of the 41 Head Start children at the Audubon Area Community Services, Inc., a delegate agency in a center- based program. The other delegate agency does not offer full-day services to its 60 Head Start children.
In January 1995, thanks to a $120,000 Head Start expansion grant and a $150,000 HUD-Head Start Partnership grant for facility renovation, a new delegate agency will open in a local Bowling Green housing project. This delegate plans to offer full-day service for approximately 34 Head Start children.
Since 1984, the WKUCCC grantee has served a primarily university-affiliated Head Start population of what the director describes as the "voluntary poor" (students with children) and the "working poor" (university maintenance, buildings and grounds, and kitchen staff).9 In addition to its 51 Head Start children, the program serves 69 non-Head Start children from birth through school age, 52 of whom receive full-day service in the same center as the Head Start children. Those non-Head Start children who are preschool-age are commingled in the same classrooms as the Head Start children. Some of the non-Head Start children also are from low-income families who receive funding from Federal sources other than Head Start; some are children of university professors or other local professionals who pay full fees for the program.
History of the Full-Day Program
The WKUCCC Head Start in Bowling Green has offered full-day services since the program opened its doors to children in 1984.10 Then, as now, the program's community needs assessment indicated that full-day care was a serious need for the population of full-time students and low-income university staff that the program was serving. From the beginning, sliding scale fees for the child care portion of the day were charged to all parents. Before the program had access to additional funding sources, this was the only way the director could afford to offer a full-day wraparound program. Two years ago, the program began to receive CCDBG funding, and low-income parents began to apply for additional Federal child care assistance such as SSBG (Title XX), as described below.
Students who use the program would like it to offer what the director jokingly called "designer child care for off-the-rack prices" (i.e., they would like to use child care only for those hours they are in class, which vary day to day). In addition, many of them who take evening classes need evening care at least once a week. However, the program found that it was too difficult to ensure the constant enrollment that would make the program economically viable, if they catered to individual student schedules. Therefore, all parents must pay for at least one-half day of child care, if they wish any service beyond the five hours that Head Start funds.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
The full-day program at WKUCCC serves 34 Head Start children and 52 non-Head Start children, 8 of whom are preschoolers. Ten of the 34 Head Start children receive full-year services as well; the other 24 receive full-day services for only 9 months of the year. Except for one week in August and two weeks in December, the center is open for business all year.
The full-day Head Start program is a wraparound program that is funded by a number of different sources, as described below. The program operates from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (10.5 hours) five days a week; parents, however, are free to pick their children up or drop them off at any time during those hours. Head Start Program Performance Standards are followed throughout the day,11 although only five hours of this time are paid for by Head Start.
The Head Start program does maintain a waiting list for full-day wraparound services, although it does not have a wait list for half-day Head Start. The education coordinator knows that some of the children who are on the waiting list are latch- key children who are being left alone at home while their parents work or attend classes. She also feels that some Head Start children whose parents do not work still need full-day service, since their families are dysfunctional.
All children are served for the full-day in one center in which there are three classrooms for preschoolers (where Head Start and non-Head Start children are served together) and one classroom, each, for infants, toddlers, and school-age children.12 Because the staff considers the Head Start Program Performance Standards such a good model, the standards govern the infant and toddler and school-age classrooms as well, even though they are not funded by Head Start.
No special collaborative arrangements are used for the delivery of full-day services. However, as mentioned above, the university contributes significantly to the program, both financially and programmatically. For example, the program serves a large number of children with disabilities (between 25 and 30 percent of the Head Start enrollment), because of the wealth of university resources for children with special needs, and because WKUCCC is one of the few programs in the area that will serve these children. The program also serves a large percentage of foster children, since many university-affiliated employees are foster parents. In addition, students from the university who are earning their degree in early childhood education serve as part-time paid and volunteer teacher's aides, while those earning degrees in social work often volunteer or conduct formal internships as part-time family service workers.
Other programs operated by the grantee also enhance full-day services: its Technical Assistance Support Center (TASC) for Head Start's Region IV-B, Head Start Teaching Center (HSTC), and WKU's Child Development Associate (CDA) training program. Under a $40,000 grant from the CCDBG program, the grantee maintains a computer database of child care providers for parents who request referrals, and provides consumer education regarding the characteristics of quality child care. In addition, the grantee provides staff training based upon the Head Start philosophy to approximately 150 private providers.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
Head Start preschoolers at the Bowling Green center follow the High/Scope curriculum throughout the day. After naptime in the afternoon, there are structured activities in the form of a second Circle Time and small group activities. However, afternoon activities are less structured than morning activities. This afternoon flexibility is necessary for two reasons: (1) children begin to tire in the afternoon, even if they have had a nap or quiet time; and (2) parents begin to pick up their children by 3:00 p.m., which can disrupt more structured activities.
The WKUCCC Head Start program has a number of special features and innovations. First of all, through the Kentucky Very Special Arts program, teachers receive special training in arts curriculum and planning and how to include children with disabilities in the arts program. Last year, children studied the work of Michelangelo, Monet, Georgia O'Keefe, and Mozart; and through a linkage with the Humane Society, children are taught how to properly care for pets (small animals are kept in comfortable enclosures in the classrooms).
The center in which the WKUCCC is housed contains a university-operated adult day and health care program for the elderly, especially those with Alzheimer's disease. Preschool children (as well as infants and toddlers) visit daily with the elderly to sing songs, tell stories, and play games together.
Because Head Start and non-Head Start children are served together, all children benefit from a program that adheres strictly to the Performance Standards. However, non-Head Start parents are asked to pay additional fees for those Head Start services that add additional cost per child, (such as dental services and field trips), should the parents choose to use them. Therefore, teachers and parents know which children are Head Start and which are non-Head Start, but no distinction is made between them in the classroom.
Staffing is one of the most challenging aspects of the full- day Head Start program. Child/staff ratios for preschool classrooms are kept at 8:1 (lower than Head Start's prescribed ratio of 10:1, because children with disabilities comprise 25 to 30 percent of the enrollment). The center's Head Start staff of seven full-time and two part-time teachers13 (all with CDA or equivalent degrees) work in teams of two (and sometimes three, at peak attendance hours) to staff the three preschool classrooms (two full-day and one morning-only classroom); it takes four staff to cover the day in a full-day preschool classroom. No teacher spends more than six and one-half hours in the classroom per day; the other hour and one-half is reserved for planning time or for home visits. Two part-time "morning-only" teachers cover the hours before 8 a.m and then, once they are relieved by full-time staff, fill in for the teachers in other classrooms, so that those teachers can have their planning time. Classroom staff are supplemented by volunteer university students who are obtaining their degrees in early childhood education, and by a number of volunteer "foster grandparents." Two full-time equivalent (FTE) university students on "work-study" scholarships serve as teaching aides. The education coordinator noted that if she needs more staff, she finds it relatively easy to obtain more volunteers, because of the program's university affiliation.
The full-day program, however, is constantly challenged by the fact that no one teacher is in the classroom all day long, causing teacher "ownership" of the classroom to suffer. In addition, staff worry about the consistency of caregiving for the children, since those who stay for 10 hours often see 4 or 5 different teachers a day. However, the education coordinator feels that the children are less affected by this than they would be if they had to change classrooms during the day. Whenever possible, she tries to minimize disruption for the children by scheduling staff changes during nap times.
In addition, full-day care makes it difficult to release staff for planning time, home visits, and training. Teachers must complete their home visits during their planning time or during their evening free time. Two teachers said they were comfortable performing home visits during some of their planning time, since, as experienced teachers, they felt they did not need all of their planning hours to prepare for class. Parents who are students at the university also are provided the option of receiving their home visits in the center during staff planning times.
Nonetheless, more than 50 percent of the home visits must take place in the evenings, because most parents work or attend school during the day. Monthly staff meetings and training sessions also are held at night. Insofar as she is able, without losing appropriate staff coverage, the education coordinator tries to give teachers "compensatory time" for the evening hours they work, but teachers still end up donating free time to the program.
According to the director, a hallmark of the Head Start program is its emphasis on training and close affiliation with the TASC and HSTC. Each classroom is equipped with one-way mirrors in which students, parents, and Head Start TASC and HSTC participants are invited to watch and listen to children's activities. (The center also serves as a university laboratory for the early childhood education, child development, and social work degree programs). Center staff members often serve as mentor teachers for other grantees. Likewise, the program is regularly observed and evaluated by other Head Start and university staff, who give suggestions and provide insight into the WKUCCC program.
All teachers in the program, including those who work with infants, toddlers, and school-age children, receive Head Start training. One week of training is provided each August, and training also is offered at each monthly staff meeting. In addition, all teachers must become certified in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Because Head Start parents in the full-day program generally work or attend school, the parent involvement coordinator has had to, in her words, "innovate or die" in planning appropriate parent involvement activities. Parent meetings are held at night (with free child care) or during lunch time, "brown bag" sessions. Since most parents have little free time to stop at the center, the parent involvement coordinator prepares "home packets" of volunteer work they can perform for Head Start or home activities they can share with their children in their limited free time. For instance, parents write newsletter articles or perform research to find articles on subjects such as child health that may be of interest to the entire Head Start community. "Make and Take" activity packets also are available that help parents work with children at home on skills such as color identification or counting. Each parent is provided with a mailbox, so that they can pick up newsletters and home packets when they pick up their children.
As hard as she tries, however, the parent involvement coordinator is only able to recruit about 10 percent of parents to perform more "traditional" Head Start activities, such as classroom volunteering or daytime parent training sessions. Because of the program's educated population, most of the parents do not need training in areas such as literacy or life skills. However, the coordinator found that at least five parents this year were interested in attending a six-week, self-taught wordprocessing course. Set up like a computer lab, parents could drop by for a few minutes during their class breaks and work on the center computers. The coordinator has established a parent training library of audio and video tapes, as well, which parents can check out for use in their homes or cars.
The coordinator has found that parents do enjoy opportunities to network informally with one another. For instance, a number of parents have formed a single parent support group, which socializes together and shares babysitting chores. The program also maintains a Head Start Policy Council to which only Head Start parents are elected as parent representatives, although a day- care parent fills one community representative slot.14 The Policy Council considers issues related to all aspects of WKUCCC's child care program, but only approves issues specific to Head Start operations. For instance, the Policy Council is involved with staff hiring and firing decisions for all staff in the program who receive any portion of their salary from Head Start.
To include more non-Head Start parents, the program runs a Parent Action Committee open to all parents of enrolled children. This group meets monthly to consider issues related to the entire WKUCCC program. One of the group's activities is the preparation of a program-wide newsletter; another is raising donations for the entire program.
The parent involvement coordinator feels that her Head Start and non-Head Start parents interact very comfortably with one another at WKUCCC. She noted that because of the program's university setting, most parents (whether Head Start or non-Head Start) share cultural and socioeconomic similarities. However, she has noticed that the two sets of parents are less likely to mingle in informal support groups that meet in parents' homes.
The secret to a successful parent involvement component in a full-day program, says the parent involvement coordinator, is to let parents "own the problem" and come up with their own innovative methods for involvement in that problem. For instance, parents themselves initiated the idea of home packets and a single parent support group at WKUCCC.
For the child care portion of the day, the grantee has received funds (for the last two years) from the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDGB). Some parents whose children attend the full-day program also qualify for funds from the state Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Social Insurance (DSI).15 WKUCCC receives these funds by billing DSI and DSS monthly for services rendered to children of eligible parents. Finally, all parents (even those enrolled in Head Start) must pay fees following a sliding scale for the non-Head Start funded portion of the day.
The program also receives limited funding from the following sources:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — reimbursement for children's meals;
- A Very Special Arts Project grant from the National Program of Very Special Arts and a preschool fine arts curriculum development grant from the Kentucky Humanities Council that have funded classroom art supplies, teacher training, and a part-time artist-in-residence; and
- Associated Student Government scholarships for student parents who do not receive Federal JOBS or IV-A assistance.
Western Kentucky University provides the program with rent- free administrative offices and center space. Utilities and pest control also are provided free-of-charge. These donations are reported as part of the Head Start program's non-Federal share.
Fees are charged to all parents according to the following chart:
As a Head Start trainer with years of experience, the WKUCCC director believes that under current Head Start regulations, individual budget line items must be allocated separately in determining the costs of a wraparound program to Head Start. (Exhibits 1 and 2 provide cost allocation strategies that her TASC recommends.) She maintains that wraparound programs must prorate every program cost "from pest control to property liability insurance." Below, we describe how WKUCCC allocates costs in a number of different areas.
Staff salaries. All WKUCCC teacher salaries are governed by one unified classification system, which does not technically recognize differences in salary between preschool teachers (those who teach Head Start) and others (those who do not teach Head Start). However, Federal sources that fund non-Head Start salaries, such as JOBS, SSBG (Title XX), and CCDBG, pay significantly less per slot than does Head Start. Therefore, when the director is able, she assigns less experienced teachers with lower salary rates to non-Head Start classrooms. She can then legitimately pay preschool (Head Start) teachers more, because they are more experienced and have more responsibilities (e.g. home visits) than the other center teachers. She thus avoids resentment from non-Head Start teachers who work in the same center. She says the parent fees that supplement the Federal funding sources also help to even out the per-slot difference between Head Start and other Federal payments. Fortunately, the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for all Federal programs have thus far been the same.
Since the salaries of administrators and teachers are funded by more than one source, all staff are required to keep time sheets that allocate their hours accurately to each of the grants under which they are paid. For instance, if a teacher is scheduled in the infant classroom, her or his salary would be charged to the CCDBG grant. If he or she worked in the preschool classroom, time would be allocated among the Head Start, CCDBG, and parent fee accounts.16 Time sheets, though, cause administrative complexities, because the payroll system is run by a separate university office that must be notified every time staff time sheets differ from budgeted staff time distributions.
Staff training. Head Start pays for much of the staff training, whether or not preschoolers are taught by the staff being trained. The director draws on both her TASC and HSTC staffs to provide this training; and, by paying a registration fee for her own program, she can pay for training out of her CCDBG resource and referral grant, which provides training for all Western Kentucky providers that are receiving CCDBG funds.
Teachers' time while in training (if compensated) is paid for out of the grants that fund the individual teachers' salaries. In other words, the training time for a teacher who teaches both Head Start and non-Head Start children in the same classroom would be allocated proportionately to both the Head Start and CCDBG grants. An infant teacher's time would be allocated to the CCDBG grant.
Materials and equipment. The cost of preschool classroom materials and equipment is absorbed entirely by the Head Start budget. Technically, however, the director feels she should prorate these costs, because they are used by Head Start and non- Head Start children alike, and by Head Start children for more than five hours per day. Because she does not currently do this, she feels she risks noncompliance. In addition, she notes that equipment costs are a problem for wraparound programs. Even though equipment wears out faster in a full-day program than in a half-day program, under Head Start regulations the full-day equipment cannot be depreciated.
Non-Federal share. The Head Start director and her fiscal administrator debate about whether non-Federal share in-kind income should be prorated or not. For example, they report the full in-kind value of free nursing services, volunteers, rent- free space, and university administrative support services as Head Start non-Federal share, even though these in-kind donations technically benefit both Head Start and non-Head Start children. The director pointed out that prorating in-kind facilities donations would cost the program a great deal, since free rent represents a significant portion of their total in-kind.17 Instead, therefore, they argue that Head Start Performance Standards are being followed for the full-day program, and that no other funding source the program draws upon requires non- Federal share matches. However, Head Start has not ruled on this issue, so they are unsure whether or not they are in compliance with regulations. In addition, inasmuch as parents who pay full child care fees are technically subsidizing the Head Start program, they are unsure whether these revenues should also be reported as non-Federal share.
Because of the way the director believes the regulations should be interpreted, allocating costs among multiple funding streams is one of the greatest challenges of running a full-day Head Start program, she says. In her particular case, however, she said she is blessed with an extremely supportive regional Office of Fiscal Operations (OFO) that will respond favorably to audit questions regarding cost allocation strategies to support full-day service. The OFO director has assisted her in providing national and regional Head Start training on the subject of cost allocation. He, like the director, believes strongly that "fiscal rules should serve program operations" — that the rules should make it easy for programs to provide important services such as full-day wraparound.
The director feels that the national Head Start office has not provided nearly this degree of clarity or support regarding full-day cost allocation issues. She and her program's fiscal administrator feel that fiscal regulations regarding cost allocation are too restrictive and "minutiae-oriented." In addition, they feel that most fiscal officers interpret the regulations very narrowly. As a result, they believe that all but the most entrepreneurial directors hesitate to launch wraparound programs in which they will have to "go out on a limb" to justify each detail of their cost allocation procedures.
Last year, the director, with the encouragement of her regional OFO director, reported the WKUCCC program as "a full-day (10 hour) Head Start program supplemented by other funding sources." Using this logic, the program did not allocate costs at all among different funding sources, in an effort to encourage the national Head Start office to rule on the legality of this kind of cost allocation plan. However, neither the regional office nor the WKUCCC director received any word from the national office about the appropriateness of their reporting procedures. As a result, there is still uncertainty about what Head Start will tolerate regarding cost allocation methods.
According to the program's fiscal administrator, the marginal costs and effort of managing multiple funding streams at WKUCCC are not great once appropriate automated systems are in place. However, designing an adequate system in the first place took her a great deal of time. She feels that the initial budgeting process was particularly difficult, since so many funding streams were involved, and that it took her years to become adept at this function. Of course, whenever funding streams change, she must rework the program's budget. She feels that Head Start could improve this situation by providing intensive and individualized training for grantee fiscal and administrative staffs.
The fiscal administrator has not found off-the-shelf software packages to perform this job properly; she has had to design her own program using LOTUS 1-2-3. She notes that none of the program's grants or funding sources, including Head Start, provide adequate resources for funding supervision and management; as a result, she has donated many hours of her free time to the program, even though the university performs all of the program's fiscal reporting, payroll, and indirect cost accounting for her. In addition, she is certain that other university accounts have in the past picked up some of the cost of administering the Head Start program.
Overall, the director feels that current Head Start fiscal policy represents an impediment to optimal service delivery to Head Start families. She feels that preoccupation with determining which Federal funding source pays for family benefits is misguided in the face of the pressing and obvious need for full-day services she has encountered across the country. However, she feels that current regulations will continue to deter most programs from providing full-day service until the regulations are substantially rewritten and the mentality of fiscal auditors changes.
Managing and administering the wraparound funding that is required to operate a full-day program is often challenging. The specific issues that generate challenges are discussed below.
Funding source restrictions. Some Federal sources have restrictions that make them more difficult to use than others. For instance, parents are eligible for JOBS child-care funding only so long as they remain in training or are employed. In addition, parents who are eligible for JOBS often languish on long wait lists before they begin to receive funding. So that their children can continue to receive full-day care, the director does her best to find other funding for Head Start parents when they lose or are waiting for JOBS funding. Of course, she cannot guarantee continued full-day funding in such situations.
Charitable donations, city grants, and parent fees are appealing funding sources, says the director, because they can be used more flexibly than Federal or state funding sources to pay for any need the program may have. For this reason, the director is pursuing local community groups (e.g., the Junior Women's Club) and industry (e.g., the local General Motors plant) to sponsor some additional child care scholarships.
Funding source sufficiency. Reimbursement rates from some Federal sources are simply too low to maintain a program that can meet the Performance Standards throughout the day. The issue is one of "apples and oranges," notes the Head Start director; sources such as JOBS and SSBG (Title XX) are designed to pay for custodial child care, which is less expensive than a comprehensive child development program like Head Start. At WKUCCC, parent fees make up for the gap between what Federal sources pay and what a full-day program actually costs to run. Without these fees, it would be impossible to maintain, throughout the day, the Performance Standards and the low child/staff ratio of 8:1 (for preschool children) to which the program is committed.
The director acknowledges that Head Start participation in local market rate surveys of child care costs would help raise reimbursement rates in her area; it is her understanding that the state will not allow Head Start to participate, although her program's rates for the child care portion of the day are included in the survey.
The director has found that it is critical to scrutinize carefully the regulations for each Federal source to ensure that she obtains maximum possible reimbursement for each slot. For instance, some Federal programs will provide full-day, rather than part-day, reimbursement per slot for five hours of child care. In these cases, since she also can obtain part-day Head Start funding for individual slots, she can bring program revenues closer to the actual costs of serving low-income children, thereby minimizing the fees their parents must pay.
Use of parent fees. The program benefits enormously from the use of parent fees; because reimbursement rates from Federal sources other than Head Start are unrealistically low, they are essential for meeting the real costs of the full-day program.
Use of parent fees does generate, however, a conflict for the program when Head Start parents are delinquent in paying fees for the child-care portion of the day. If that happens, the director is forced to adopt the role of "debt collector" in order to meet the program's expenses, even though she knows how difficult families' financial circumstances may be.
For example, in 1984, in the program's first year of operation, it lost $6,000 (which the university absorbed) as a result of unpaid parent fees. Specifically, parents would drop children off in the morning for the five-hour Head Start portion of the day, but fail to pick them up until late in the afternoon, thus ensuring their children received free child care. As a result, the director had to switch these children to "afternoon Head Start" (on paper only, because Performance Standards are followed throughout the day), so that Head Start parents who were delinquent in their child care payments could not bring their children to the program until noon. In addition, she has published new rules in the program's parent manual mandating a late pick-up charge of $16 an hour. The manual also states that children who are dropped off at the program illegally or chronically left there late will be assumed "abandoned," and will be turned over to the Department of Social Services.
Financial realities have forced the director to adopt such policies, but she feels uncomfortable, since she believes that her role as "debt collector" conflicts with her role as Head Start family advocate. She is therefore opposed to the idea of regulatory changes that would allow programs to charge parent fees for the Head Start portion of the day, because she is certain that such a change would drastically interfere with staff-family relationships. On the other hand, she thinks fees for full-day service, though sometimes problematic for families and staff, are a good way to help families learn to manage the real costs associated with the attainment of self-sufficiency.
Reimbursement funding sources. Until 1991, when DSS and DSI policies changed, WKUCCC was reimbursed for child-care costs for each slot, based on a child's attendance, rather than enrollment, in the program.18 This policy generated enormous revenue problems, because if a child was sick and did not show up, costs of running the program, such as salaries and overhead, were still incurred. Again, WKUCCC resolved this problem, at least partially, through the use of parent fees that were due for enrolled children, whether or not the child was present each day. Parent fees thus encouraged regular program attendance (and helped parents learn to consistently budget their resources).
The director noted that cash-flow problems also result from Federal reimbursement policies, particularly for the small or stand-alone agencies she trains (which often lack start-up funding and monetary "cushions" to survive unanticipated revenue losses due to high numbers of absences and long waits for reimbursements). Parents who are eligible for Federal child care funding must often wait 60 to 90 days before their funding is approved and WKUCCC begins to receive reimbursement from DSS or DSI for their child's slot. In the meantime, the program must charge parents for services and reimburse them when fees are received retroactively from the state — an often expensive and futile effort. The director thus maintains that without the backing of Western Kentucky University, which absorbs her program's short-term cash shortages, it would be extremely difficult to run a full-day Head Start program.
In summary, the Head Start director is pleased that the WKUCCC program can provide full-day service that is responsive to parents' needs, although finding wraparound funding that will help low-income parents to pay for additional hours of care is a continuing struggle. The use of sliding scale fees raises troubling policy issues for her, even though without them she would not be able to follow the Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day.
She also feels strongly that current fiscal regulations regarding cost allocation procedures for wraparound programs impede full-day service. However, as an "entrepreneurial" director, she is willing to live with regulatory ambiguity in order to provide the hours of service that her Head Start families need. Her other challenges involve staff scheduling (for classroom coverage, training time, and home visits) and provision of a viable parent involvement program that is amenable to full-time working or student parents.
New River Community Action, Inc.
PATRICIA MARICKOVICH, DIRECTOR
The New River Community Action (NRCA) Head Start program serves approximately 40 children in a full-day "connected care" arrangements. Head Start funds are supplemented by Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds set aside for Virginia Head Start programs by the state. Children attend Head Start in the morning, and the program contracts with nine licensed community child care centers and four licensed family home care providers to provide afternoon child care for children whose parents are working or in education or training programs. The contracted providers do not follow Head Start Performance Standards.
- Auspices: Community action agency
- Area served: Rural and small urban
- Head Start funded enrollment: 304
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 40
- Full-day care providers: Grantee agency (½ day); contracted centers and family child care homes (½ day)
- Non-Head Start funding source: CCDBG
The New River Community Action, Inc. serves a total of 304 children in center-based or home-based program options. Approximately one-tenth of the enrollment — or 40 children — receive full-day "connected care" services; the rest receive a traditional half-day program. NRCA's catchment area includes four counties (Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski), large portions of which are rural, and the City of Radford. Montgomery County also contains the town of Christiansburg and the larger town of Blacksburg, Virginia, home to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The Head Start program operates nine centers across its service area, which are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., from September through May. The centers are closed on Mondays for staff meetings, planning, staff training, and home-based socializations. In the home-based program, a home visitor makes weekly home visits and brings the children together for a group socialization experience at least twice monthly. The program does not operate any special demonstration programs, Family Service Centers, or Parent and Child Centers.
Census figures for the area served by NRCA show that approximately 20 percent of the residents live in poverty. Eighty-four percent of the program's enrollment is white, 14 percent is black, and the remaining two percent is American Indian, Asian, or Hispanic. Last year, two children spoke Spanish, and two spoke Chinese; the rest were native English speakers.
History of the Full-Day Program
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.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
Once the Head Start program ends at 1 p.m., the approximately 40 children who receive full-day services are bused by Head Start to one of nine licensed community child care centers or four licensed family home care providers with whom the Head Start program has a "purchase of service" contract. (On Mondays and during the summer, when the Head Start program is closed, parents must deliver their children to child care providers for the full day.) Parents may choose which of the child care programs they want their children to attend. In these programs, Head Start and non-Head Start children are served together, sometimes in similar-age groups and sometimes in mixed- age groups.
Four hours of service for each child is funded by CCDBG grants; and parents must pick their children up at the end of the day at the providers they use. Most child care centers are closed for one week at Christmas; one center in Radford is also closed for one week each summer.
Under CCDBG rules, parents are eligible for NRCA child care funding only if they are working or in education or training. Under state rules, the NRCA must quarterly verify parent eligibility status through written confirmation from employers or schools. Originally, the state allowed the NRCA to fund full-day child care for Head Start-eligible children on the Head Start waiting list; now, only children enrolled in Head Start are eligible for the CCDBG funds.
Even though the program serves only one-tenth of its Head Start enrollment in full-day care, there is not currently a waiting list for full-day services. The Head Start director feels, however, that this misrepresents her families' need for full-day services, since almost two-thirds of her parents work or are in training. Both she and the two off-site child care providers we interviewed believe that many Head Start parents do not request full-day funding simply because they cannot find low- cost child care for older or younger siblings.20 Without child care for all of their children, parents cannot take the steps they need to ensure self-sufficiency, according to the director and providers interviewed. For instance, one of the family home care providers described the case of a Head Start parent who had returned to school at the urging of the Head Start program. Once in school, the parent was unable to find affordable before- and after-school care after her child "graduated" from Head Start.
Among other reasons cited by those interviewed, parents often do not request full-day care because they live in isolated rural areas in which no licensed child care centers or family home providers are available. In such cases, parents often rely on relatives to care for their children when Head Start is closed.
The "collaborations" between the grantee and the providers who care for Head Start children in the afternoon are contractual arrangements, which do not extend much beyond scheduling and payment functions. Head Start staff contact the centers and homes to arrange for care of children after Head Start hours; they pay each provider for the hours of care given to contracted children.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
The High/Scope Cognitively Oriented Curriculum is followed in both the home-based and half-day center models. Once children who receive full-day services are bused to off-site child care providers, however, Head Start loses control over the kind of service provided. Most contract programs provide unstructured "babysitting" services. For instance, when asked about her program activities, an in-home provider mentioned only that she plays games with the children and takes them on trips to the park and to the local mall. One center visited (which the Head Start director acknowledged was her "star" contractor) does offer an enriched early learning program for the children, under which staff develop weekly learning "themes." However, even this program is much less structured than Head Start; the center director noted that "Head Start is like school, but this is like home." Because Head Start children generally arrive at child care during naptime (at approximately 1:30 p.m.), they spend the first hour in quiet activities or rest. Some, but not all, centers provide an afternoon snack.
The quality of contracted child care raises concern for the NRCA Head Start director. On the one hand, she feels children need a more unstructured, home-like setting, after a morning spent in a center-based Head Start program.21 On the other hand, she feels children would benefit more from a consistent environment, staff, and rules than can be provided by a "connected care" program. In addition, she worries that many of the off-site providers under contract — particularly some of the center-based ones — do not provide high quality care. Not only do some of the programs lack structured activities, she feels they are overcrowded and staffed by poorly trained caretakers. She feels such places provide particularly poor service for children with special needs. In addition, she has had calls from some Head Start parents complaining that their Head Start children are treated poorly in comparison with the non-Head Start children served by these programs.
In some communities — especially extremely rural ones, the director said she feels fortunate to have access to any providers at all. The first provider Floyd County has ever had opened its doors this summer, and Giles County opened its first center only in the last five years. In other communities, high quality child care providers are available at a cost per slot that the CCDBG grant does not allow. Many of those programs have expressed an interest in serving Head Start children to improve the ethnic and socioeconomic mix of their own child population, but they are unable to do so at CCDBG reimbursement rates.
The Head Start morning program is staffed in a traditional manner. Specifically, NRCA maintains a staff of 79, 26 of whom are teachers or teacher aides, and seven of whom are home visitors. Because the child care programs the NRCA uses to provide full-day service are not affiliated in any way with Head Start, Head Start has no control over the way these providers staff their programs or over the qualifications of their staff. However, since the programs are state-licensed, Head Start can be sure that they follow state child/staff ratio guidelines. For instance, one visited off-site child care center maintains a child/staff ratio of 10:1, for children under four-and-a-half, and a 12:1 ratio for pre-kindergarten children.
State licensing guidelines mandate that child care staff receive at least eight hours of training a year. However, this is far less training than Head Start staff receive (NRCA staff receive from 40 to 60 hours of training a year). The director of one child care agency says she prefers to hire teachers with some college training, but she is not always successful in her efforts to do so. The NRCA director knows, also, that many staff at other contracted providers possess no more than a high school degree, which was the case with the interviewed family home care provider.
In addition, the NRCA director is concerned that the quality of off-site staff training is in many cases very low. In the one off-site center visited, Head Start teachers provided training to child care staff in areas such as behavior management and outdoor gross motor activities. Child care staff in this program have also made efforts to contact Head Start family service workers when they detect problems with a Head Start child. Nonetheless, the NRCA director regrets that she does not have more control over staff training or qualifications in the afternoon programs — a concern that contributes to her ambivalence about "connected care" full-day arrangements.
The NRCA has an active parent involvement component that is tailored as much as possible to the schedules of parents who work or attend school full-time. The director has been able to use community resources, such as a local Community Services Board, two local universities, and one community college, to provide parent training in areas such as family violence, parenting skills, and literacy, which she considers one of the hallmarks of her program. Staff perform home visits in the evenings, when necessary, and most parent center meetings and Policy Council meetings are held at night. In cases where parent activities must be held during the work day, the director said that special efforts are made to see that working parents obtain the information covered in the activity.
Twice yearly, in November and April, the Head Start program hosts a Parent Seminar Day in one of the centers — attended by about 85 parents. At each seminar day, parents choose three or four workshops in areas such as Self-Esteem/Assertiveness, Providing Effective Guidance and Discipline, Coping with Stress for Adults, or The Job Search. Transportation, lunch, and child care is provided for all attendees, and door prizes are used as extra attendance incentives. Both Head Start staff and local community experts, such as university professors, serve as workshop presenters; these outside experts either donate their time or charge a nominal fee. This activity has been successful, and parents often plan ahead to take time off from work or school to attend Parent Seminar Day.
Each year, the NRCA Head Start program applies to the Virginia Council on Child Day Care and Early Childhood Programs for its CCDBG funds. In September of 1994, the program was awarded just over $112,000 to purchase 40 off-site child care slots for the period from October 1, 1994 through September 30, 1995.22
On a monthly basis, Head Start is reimbursed by the Virginia Council for the cost of its child care contracts. The program's fiscal administrator reports its child care costs on the 10th of each month and receives reimbursement on the 20th.
Any part of the CCDBG funding that is not used to purchase child care services must be returned to the Virginia Council at the end of the year. If the program needs to purchase more child care slots than anticipated in the grant application, the director can, during the year, request additional funding from the Virginia Council. However, additional funding only becomes available if the state has not already disbursed its entire CCDBG allotment to other Head Start programs.
No parent fees are charged as a part of this funding strategy.
The grantee's fiscal administrator keeps the CCDBG funding separate from the community action agency's approximately 15 other funding sources. However, the grant is not further subdivided into cost categories, since it pays for only one item (child care provider reimbursements).
Contractual arrangements with providers. NRCA maintains a formal contractual relationship with each of the off-site child care centers and homes it uses to provide full-day service. Appendix 1 provides a copy of this formal purchase of service contract, drawn up by the Virginia Council, which drew up all of the other paperwork associated with the CCDBG grant. Providers submit biweekly invoices to NRCA Head Start, noting exact attendance records of Head Start children under their care. The NRCA Head Start program then reimburses each provider within two weeks of receiving invoices.
NRCA Head Start must then submit monthly attendance reports to the Virginia Council that updates the master list of children attending each provider's program. Both the Head Start director and the program's fiscal administrator noted that the state had made the paperwork and bookkeeping related to the CCDBG grant "very easy."
Since each of NRCA's child care contractors also serves non- Head Start children, no contractor specifies a minimum number of Head Start children that must be served at any given time. Providers do not bill Head Start for service for children with excused or unexcused absences. However, parents are required to give two weeks notice when they drop child care service; otherwise, providers can continue to bill Head Start for slots they are holding.
The Head Start director feels purchase of service contracts are a good way to work with local child care providers, because this arrangement reduces the threat of competition for child care from Head Start. Two providers interviewed also expressed satisfaction with the contractual arrangement they had with Head Start, and noted that they are reimbursed promptly and that they find the Head Start administrative staff efficient and courteous. In addition, one provider noted that Head Start's reimbursement from the CCDBG grant is higher per slot than the funding she receives from the local Department of Social Services for other low-income children she serves.
The NRCA Head Start director said, however, that Head Start's CCDBG reimbursement is lower that the payments providers receive from full fee-paying parents. As a result, some of her contractors are ambivalent about their relationship with Head Start, particularly when they know that Head Start staff are often paid higher salaries than child care staff. She feels that resentment about Head Start reimbursements and salaries fuels "petty" complaints from some of her providers about the Head Start transportation schedule (children are often dropped off at child care providers during naptime), and may fuel a tendency for some providers to treat Head Start children less well than non- Head Start children. For these reasons, she would like to obtain representation from the local child care community on the Head Start Policy Council, but has not as yet been able to do so.
Funding source restrictions. As discussed above, only parents who work or are in school or training full-time are eligible for CCDBG child care funding. Therefore, Head Start children who receive afternoon child care funded by CCDBG must leave the program if their parents leave employment or training — unless parents can afford to pay child care fees.
Funding source sufficiency. The Head Start director expressed dismay that neither Head Start nor the state of Virginia provides funding for the fiscal administration and liaison work with contracted child care providers that her staff is performing to administer the CCDBG grant. Staff must refer families to providers, obtain financial information from families, prepare provider contracts, review provider invoices and pay providers for their services, check up on any complaints, monitor attendance records, and provide monthly reports to the state of Virginia about the use of CCDBG funds. In addition, the director would like to receive higher child care reimbursement rates so that she could either: (1) provide full-day service through an in-house wraparound Head Start program that followed Performance Standards throughout the day; or (2) contract with higher quality, and therefore more expensive, outside child care providers. She feels that since Head Start is not a child care program, it should not participate in local market rate surveys of child care costs. She believes, though, that her Head Start children would benefit more from a higher quality, full-day Head Start program than from a cheaper, "connected care" program of dubious and inconsistent quality.
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.
Alachua County School Board
BEBE FEARNSIDE, DIRECTOR
The Alachua County School Board contracts with a central child care agency to ensure provision of a full-day center-based program for 200 children and a full-day program in family child care homes for 40 children. All programs meet Head Start Performance Standards throughout the day. Alachua County combines state preschool funding of $3600 per child with about $3600 of Head Start funds for this Head Start-level program. The full-day program operates for 180 days, and the School Board also operates 20-day summer programs to assist children in their transition to kindergarten.
- Auspices: School system
- Area served: Mixed urban and rural
- Head Start funded enrollment: 890
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 240
- Full-day care providers: Contracted centers and family child care homes
- Non-Head Start funding sources: Florida Department of Education
The Alachua County School Board, funded by Head Start and the Florida Department of Education, operates directly or contracts for programs for approximately 950 children (mostly 4 years old) at 22 elementary schools, 9 child care centers, and 8 family child care homes. About 600 of these children are considered Head Start children, the others are state preschool enrollees. In fiscal year 1994, 240 Head Start children received full-day services through contracts with the county's central child care agency, Child Care Resources, Inc. Two hundred of these children were served in centers and 40 were served in homes. The children in family child care are a part of one of the School Board's two Head Start demonstration programs — the Family Child Care demonstration grant. The second program is a Family Service Center demonstration project that allows for expanded case management and social services for targeted Head Start families. Several other early childhood programs are located at the Family Service Center building, including Even Start and Florida First Start.
Alachua County has a significant concentration of children and families who live in poverty. The Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks as the 4th lowest in family income in the United States, with 23.1 percent of all families in the county living below the poverty level. Approximately 42 percent of all students in Alachua County Public Schools receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch, with several elementary schools near 80 percent. Many families, especially those headed by young mothers, rely on public assistance. Lack of education, limited job opportunities, and lack of child care present significant barriers to attaining self-sufficiency. Approximately 13 percent of adults in Alachua County have less than an 8th-grade education. There are not many jobs in this community and, of the jobs that are available, many are in the service sector (with low pay and minimal benefits). The major employer in the area is the University of Florida and its medical center. There is very little industry in the area, and agricultural employment is limited. Of 750 families served by the Alachua County School Board Head Start/PreK program during the 1991-1992 school year, 231 parents (31 percent) were employed full-time in Alachua County, 26 (3 percent) were employed on a part-time basis, and 27 (3 percent) were enrolled in school or in job training programs.
Although some schools serving children of students from the University of Florida have a high population of families whose native language is not English, language barriers are not a major concern in Alachua County.
History of the Full-Day Program
Over 20 years ago, the School Board of Alachua County began to collaborate with other child care providers in the community. Based on the belief that all children would eventually come to the school, the first initiatives allowed the school system to share resources with subsidized child care programs. Then, in 1983, in conjunction with a major Head Start expansion initiative, the school board applied for a local option to allow them to contract for services with the central agency for subsidized child care — Child Care Resources, Inc. Full-day care through a subcontract with this agency was piloted with 50 children and has grown and improved over time.
Two other options for full-day care have recently begun. Head Start classes, which operate six hours per day, began offering additional hours of care (through a non-Head Start provider) about three years ago; and two sequential family child care demonstration programs began in 1990 and 1993.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
Head Start parents can obtain full-day care, if they work or attend school, through one of three options: (1) center-based Head Start through a contract with Child Care Resources, Inc; (2) Head Start in family child care homes (also a component of the network of Child Care Resources, Inc); or (3) child care in a classroom following the six-hour Head Start day. However, the grantee does not consider this latter "extended day program" to be "full-day Head Start."
The Alachua County School Board also has a program to ease the transition of children and families to kindergarten. The program provides a 20-day summer session for prekindergarten children. At most sites, the children move to a kindergarten classroom with the prekindergarten/ Head Start staff and a kindergarten teacher utilizing a team-teaching approach. The transition program is four hours per day, with child care available at a minimum fee before and after those hours.
The Alachua County School Board contracts with Child Care Resources for full-day services for 200 Head Start-eligible children in 9 child care centers, and 40 Head Start children in 8 family day care homes. In addition to those children, there are approximately 650 non-Head Start children served in the contracted child care centers. Both centers and family child care homes are open 10 hours a day (usually 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.), 5 days a week, for 180 days a year, with an additional 20- day summer session for children making the transition to kindergarten. There are waiting lists for specific Head Start sites, because of population shifts, but the program manages to place all who are eligible for and request full-day services.
The Head Start/PreK director notes that collaboration is a necessity when resources are limited, and that one of the most innovative aspects of their program is that they collaborate with all funding streams in the community. The School Board began to contract with child care centers because of lack of space for services in the schools, but they have always acknowledged the value of the child care community, and the child care community has been included in their training programs since the late 1970s.
The contractual agreement between the Alachua County School Board and Child Care Resources, Inc. requires the School Board to pay the child care agency a certain dollar amount per Head Start child, and to pay the costs of an additional teacher and supplies for classrooms with a concentration of Head Start children. Head Start also offers training for all teachers and family child care providers and is now assembling a parent-provider library that will be available at every child care center and family child care home. Child Care Resources is responsible for reimbursing individual child care centers and assuring that licensing and other contractual criteria are met. Head Start/PreK staff monitor the individual centers for compliance with Head Start standards.
The contract between Child Care Resources and the School Board has resulted in additional resources for child care in the community and has improved the morale of child care providers. These results are especially important in light of the fact that subsidized child care providers are faced with severe resource limitations and are very concerned about maintaining the quality and availability of care. (Because the reimbursements for subsidized child care lag by at least two months, cash flow is a serious problem for child care centers.) The longstanding relationship between Head Start and the child care community has matured through the implementation of full-day Head Start. The Head Start director works with the director of Child Care Resources to assure that every low-income 4-year-old is placed in a program.
The Head Start and Child Care Resources directors acknowledge that it took time to bring the quality of the contracted programs up to Head Start standards, and that Head Start rules seemed very restrictive at first. A certain amount of flexibility and sensitivity was needed by all parties involved. For example, the physical facilities at some day care centers impose limitations that are not faced by the grantee's school-based centers. Even with Head Start-provided materials and furnishings, some buildings just do not look as "cheery" or provide as much open space as others. In addition, some child care center directors were slow to adopt the Head Start philosophy in full. Lessons learned from this experience include the need to recognize and build on the strengths of existing staff and the need to provide specific information on Head Start standards and expectations in advance.
The directors agree that quality is consistently improving. Providers feel that Head Start has better program controls and better monitoring than child care. Head Start resources have enabled some centers to upgrade their program and, by "freeing- up" resources, to accept more younger children in their non-Head Start classes. The lead teachers paid by Head Start have improved the quality and atmosphere for all children in the center. In fact, directors and staff at several of the centers noted that Head Start involvement gives a positive feeling to all of their staff, because it emphasizes the important role of the teacher. Improved classroom materials also provide a boost to staff as well as children.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
Full-day Head Start follows the Head Start Performance Standards all day for all students. Similar to the morning activities, there are structured activities in the afternoon.
Each of the contracted centers we visited provided evidence of the positive effects of Head Start. For instance, the Bell Nursery School is licensed for 80 children, ages 2½ to 5. It has one room for the Head Start age group, which Head Start staff helped to set up and for which Head Start provided materials. The director of this center indicated that the affiliation with Head Start has meant more training, more resource people, and more and better workshops, and has generally enhanced the program by "adding materials, people, and ideas." Head Start has offered teacher support and teacher recognition as well as resources for parents. Parent meetings are held monthly or biweekly, depending upon parent needs — and everyone receives home visits.
St. Augustine's child care program started in 1957, and the center has been at its current location in a designated historical site for about 10 years. Licensed for 70 children, about 14 of the children at the center are in Head Start. The director is a former Head Start teacher who indicates he has "seen the difference" Head Start makes — for the parents as well as for the children in the program. The director noted that the center's values and those of Head Start are consistent, but that the child care center setting offers families greater flexibility than school-based settings. For example, the center is open on school holidays and has a van for emergency transportation needs.
The Palmer-King child care center is located in a low-income housing development, and is licensed for 90 children, ages 6 months to 5½ years. There are about 13 children enrolled in Head Start. The director of this center reports that Head Start helped to equip and set up the room for the prekindergarten class, and has given providers a "sense of professionalism." Parents without jobs work in the classroom and help on field trips. (An annual outing to Jacksonville is very popular and is attended by most parents.)
Each class has a lead teacher, funded by Head Start, a teacher, and an assistant. The position of lead teacher pays an annual salary of $30,000, and requires certification in early childhood education. Head Start provides additional staffing support as follows: for every 5 classes, a social services liaison (there are a total of 10 social service liaisons); for every 6 classes, 1 lead early childhood curriculum supervisor (for a total of 8 early childhood supervisors); 1 health coordinator for every 7 classes; and 1 parent involvement coordinator for every 7 classes.
Education staff in full-day classes take advantage of naptime for planning and for training. Home visits are conducted in the evening and on Saturdays, for which staff members may be given compensatory time off. In exceptional cases (e.g., the home setting is not conducive to a visit), a "home visit" may be held at the Family Service Center or the child care center.
Head Start teachers from all center-based and family child care sites are required to participate in at least 50 hours of training each year, including a 1-week summer institute. All contracted sites must provide arrangements for staff working with Head Start/PreK children to participate in this training. For non-Head Start teachers, training is at the discretion of the child care center director.
Arranging for training time is more difficult for the staff at contracted centers than it is at the school-based Head Start programs. Head Start staff in part-day programs are paid for 8 hours per day, but children are at school for only 6 hours. Also, there is an early-release day every Wednesday, which is used for training. Since it is hard for contractor staff to attend this training, more of the training is provided on-site at their full-day centers.
At full-day centers, coverage must be provided for the classroom when a teacher is in training. Often the teacher provided by Head Start will cover the classroom while the child care center teacher attends training. The centers are responsible for finding their own substitutes to cover for training. Some centers recruit parents for this role, providing training (for a fee) to interested parents, since substitutes must be certified by the School Board. For some parents this provides an opportunity for advancement, moving from volunteer to substitute, and continuing, perhaps, toward CDA training.
Staff at contracted centers understand that attending training is part of their obligation as Head Start providers. Staff log in hours on the Child-Plus computer system, and everyone receives a printout of their training to-date. In addition, arrangements are made for visits between contracted centers and school-based programs, for the sharing of ideas; and Head Start provides classroom coverage so teachers can observe master classes.
All instructors and assistants in the Head Start/PreK program are given the opportunity to earn their CDA credential. The community college in Gainesville, as well as Basic Adult Education, offer CDA training, and equivalent training is provided at the Family Service Center. JTPA pays for some of the training for eligible individuals, and Head Start staff direct applicants to appropriate JTPA contacts.
Parent involvement is organized in the same manner for contracted centers and homes as for the grantee's part-day Head Start, under the direction of the Head Start parent involvement coordinator. This coordinator also was a Head Start teacher and is creative in identifying ways that parents can be involved in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the program (e.g., options are offered so that meetings and workshops coincide with parents' needs and schedule).
A survey is sent out to all parents, asking them to check off what they can do in class — offering, in addition to volunteering in class, the chance to participate in field trips, special occasions, and visiting during lunch hours. The survey also lists other options for parents, including providing or preparing art materials, washing clothes used in the dramatic play area, baking cupcakes, and so on. The completed surveys are kept at the centers so that staff can see where parents are able to help; and all parents, not just Head Start parents, are encouraged to volunteer.
A second survey, which is kept by the parent involvement coordinator, asks parents to check off topics they are interested in for parent meetings. All centers have different times for parent meetings, with the dates and topics decided upon by the parents themselves. As it is very difficult for many parents to come to meetings, Head Start encourages participation by providing child care and transportation for parents who need either or both.
Alachua County uses state prekindergarten and Head Start funds to operate the program. Children are placed in the program based on the eligibility requirements of the funding source. Head Start eligibility is poverty level; state preschool eligibility is based upon income standards for free lunch, which are a little higher than poverty level. PreK and Head Start children are mixed within the classrooms and child care centers, but are coded separately for auditing purposes.
No fees are charged to parents by the Alachua County program.
Charges against each of the funding sources are based upon the percentage of children participating in each source's program, which is currently 65 percent Head Start and 35 percent State PreK. These percentages are then used to allocate the costs of all line items in the budget.
The computer system used by the school district is set up to allocate costs between the sources. All of the forms used (e.g., invoices, purchase orders) provide for allocations by funding source or cost center. The Head Start/PreK director can monitor the budget over the course of the year and adjust allocations as needed. This system has worked well and has been approved by the State's auditor general.
Contract with Child Care Resources, Inc. Key fiscal issues are negotiated by the Head Start director and the Child Care Resources director. They have, for example, negotiated rate increases as funds are made available by Head Start and additional enhancement services are offered. Under the FY 93 contract, Child Care Resources is reimbursed at a daily rate of $13 per day per child; it then reimburses the individual centers. In addition to the daily rate, the Head Start/PreK grant (a) purchases materials for the programs just as it does for its other sites, (b) provides lead teachers for the classrooms, and (c) pays for health, social services, and parent involvement staff. This adjusts Head Start's cost to about $20 per day per child (or $3,600 per child per year).
The policy for absent days is the same in contracted care and in the school-based centers: the center or home is paid as long as the child is enrolled. There is follow-up after a child is absent for three days; and should a child be dropped from the program, he or she is replaced by someone from the waiting list.
Child Care Resources receives Federal, state, and United Way funds for the operation of its agency. Unlike Head Start, the state child care subsidy is paid on the basis of daily attendance. Cash flow is a significant problem for subsidized child care providers. They report their numbers to the state in June, but are not reimbursed until August, by which time their numbers are higher, so they are even further behind. The state is working at allowing child care providers to estimate enrollment and receive pay in advance.
Salaries. Head Start lead teachers placed in contracted centers are paid on the School Board salary schedule for career service employees and are given a supplement for their CDA. Non- Head Start teachers are awarded a supplement through the contract, when they achieve CDA certification; and center directors try to use the resources obtained through the collaboration to provide comparable salaries to their employees.
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.
Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Inc.
MARILYN THOMAS, PRESIDENT AND CEO
Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Inc. operates full- day programs for 398 Head Start-eligible 3- to 5-year-olds and 64 infants and toddlers. The majority of the 3- to 5-year-old children (347) are enrolled in a part-year Head Start program, which has been in existence since the mid-1980s. The remainder of the preschool age children (51) and 42 infants and toddlers participate in a full-day program begun under a joint grant from the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop child care options within two housing projects. The additional 22 infants and toddlers are served in a church that also houses Head Start classrooms. Wraparound funding is provided by the state's "publicly funded child care." When the HUD/HHS grant expires in September 1994, additional funding may be provided by the Family Service Center demonstration grant, as the costs of running such a program are greater than the income from public accounts.
- Auspices: Private non-profit
- Area served: Urban
- Head Start funded enrollment: 1,887
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 398
- Full-day care providers: Grantee agency
- Non-Head Start funding sources: State publicly funded child care (SSBG, CCDBG, At-risk child care), State Head Start and HUD grant
Miami Valley Child Development Centers (MVCDC) is a private, non-profit grantee that directly administers its programs. It serves Montgomery County, which includes the city of Dayton, and two other counties that abut Montgomery County. In FY 94, it offered child care to 1,887 children, of whom 1,279 were funded by Head Start and 608 by the State of Ohio. About half of the children were black (54 percent); the other half were white (45 percent). All were native English speakers.
MVCDC currently receives funding under two special Head Start demonstration programs, one under the Family Service Center program to enhance social services and the other under an initiative jointly sponsored by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enhance child care services in public housing projects. Both of these grants help support the grantee's program of full-day services.
History of the Full-Day Program
MVCDC operated a full-day program for some of its Head Start children in the early 1970s, but the director reported that the agency gave up this option under pressure from the Regional Office to serve all children in double sessions. The recent program of full-day, part-year Head Start services began in 1987- 88, when grantee staff successfully argued that about 150 of their parents had opportunities for grants for schooling that they could not take advantage of unless they could find full-day subsidized child care. These services have expanded to more families, as recent expansion grants have permitted the agency to increase its enrollment and set of services.
Start-up funding to allow for the provision of full-day services for infants and toddlers was generated in 1989 by a $40,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development to renovate one facility in a public housing project (Hilltop). This building opened for services in February 1991. In July 1992 the agency was awarded a $50,000 Child Development Block Grant from the Ohio Department of Development to create an additional room for full-day services to infants and toddlers (Central United Methodist Church). It opened in April 1993. Finally, in October 1992 the agency received funding from HUD/HHS to renovate a facility in a second housing project (Parkside) and enhance services at the first facility. Parkside was opened for children in June 1994.
Structure of the Full-Day Head Start Program
MVCDC operates four models of full-day programs:
(1) For 347 3- to 5-year-olds, it operates a Head Start full-day option, open 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 8½ months a year;
(2) For 51 3- to 5-year-olds, it opens Head Start classrooms for 10 hours a day all 12 months of the year;
(3) For 22 infants and toddlers, it offers full-day services, 10 hours a day for 8½ months a year; and
(4) For an additional 42 infants and toddlers, it provides full-day services for 10 hours a day throughout the year.
All services are offered in centers, and children remain in the same groups for the entire day. All of the 3- to 5-year-olds in a full-day option are funded by ACYF; all infants and toddlers are funded by another source.
In general, staff find that full-day services have a waiting list of about 20 children at any given time. If these children are of Head Start age, they may enter a part-day program while waiting for a full-day slot. Infants and toddlers must seek care elsewhere.
In the conduct of its full-day program, MVCDC has collaborated with the local Metropolitan Housing Authorities, the local HUD representatives. In the summer of 1992, MVCDC's President and CEO approached the Dayton housing authority to talk about the opportunity to apply for the HUD/HHS funds and to open child care centers in housing projects. MVCDC was already operating Head Start programs in two housing projects (Hilltop and Parkside), but wanted to expand infant and toddler care and expand its overall service offerings. Upon award of the grant, appropriate renovations were made to the facilities.
HUD and MVCDC staff now coordinate principally by sharing information. Family Service Workers from MVCDC and HUD staff also may work together to help families. The MVCDC President and CEO calls HUD staff when there is a problem with the facilities or with interactions with HUD staff; HUD staff also may choose to make such a call. Members of both organizations meet on task forces and sometimes in joint training sessions. Head Start staff served on a HUD committee to hire HUD residents as Family Advocates. Thus, the collaboration is mostly in the form of joint assistance and information sharing. HUD — and other child care agencies in the community — are not involved in the funding of MVCDC's child care programs.
MVCDC staff also are thoroughly involved in the child care community in the cachement area. The President and CEO has played a series of major roles on the advisory board for the local Child Care Clearinghouse, a place where discussions occur concerning a wide variety of child care issues. She has served on a variety of county committees and planning groups concerned with child care and remains active in the Dayton Association for Young Children (an NAEYC affiliate).
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
MVCDC full-day programs are open for children from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. The typical morning schedule is similar to that in Head Start's part-day programs, with structured activities, active physical play, and lunch. The afternoon has a reprise of circle time and a plan-do-review period (where children plan a learning activity, do the activity, and meet together to describe their activities and share their discoveries). The Head Start Performance Standards are followed throughout the day in all areas; no differentiation is made between morning "Head Start" hours and "other" hours.
All of the 3- to 5-year-old children in full-day programs are "Head Start children" and receive the full complement of Head Start program services. Because of a strong belief on the part of grantee staff in the necessity of delivering high quality services to all families, all classrooms meet high standards in terms of the program for children. None of the infants and toddlers are "Head Start children"; however, their classrooms meet the same level of quality as those of the preschoolers. Since most of the 0 to 3-year-olds are siblings of Head Start children, the families receives all social services and parent involvement services as well. In the housing project in which the Family Service Center operates, the families of all of the children receive enhanced services.
Health services for infants and toddlers are not provided to the same extent as would be true for older siblings. That is, infants and toddlers must have medical examinations in order to join the classroom, and they must be up to date in immunizations to remain. But the grantee cannot afford to pay for medical or dental services for these children, if screening shows that services are required. Staff will work to find free or low cost services for these families, if possible.
In general, the full-day Head Start classrooms have three full-time staff members: a lead teacher, an assistant teacher, and a teacher aide, although a few classes have a second teacher instead of an assistant teacher. The team of staff in a classroom stagger their work hours. In most cases, one individual starts at 7:30 a.m. and works until 4:30 p.m., a second begins at 8:00 a.m. and leaves at 5:00 p.m., and the third begins at 8:30 a.m. and leaves at 5:30 p.m. Planning and recordkeeping tasks are completed during these hours, usually during naptime.
In addition to the time they spend in class, these staff conduct home visits and participate in training. To accomplish these tasks, full-day staff request assistance from part-day staff, who are not with children on Fridays. Part-day classroom staff act as substitutes in the full-day classrooms, so that the full-day staff can perform home visits and attend training. Usually, full-day staff conduct one home visit in September or October, and then conduct a second visit in the spring. If it becomes very difficult to schedule a visit with a parent, the second "home" visit may occur in the center.
Education staff training sessions occur once each month, on a Friday afternoon. The topics vary, depending on the interests of staff and the view of the coordinator about staff needs for information and improvement. All education staff are invited to participate, whether they are involved in the part-day or full- day program. Substitutes can be arranged, as described above.
One day each year, the grantee closes its doors to children and conducts "pre-service" training for all staff. In 1994, the training was scheduled for a Friday in October. Parents were notified well in advance so they could make alternate care arrangements.
MVCDC has had some difficulty in involving parents in the program. On the 1993-94 PIR, they reported that 31 percent of parents had volunteered in the classroom and 17 percent had attended at least one parent education session, in comparison with national averages of 63 percent and 56 percent respectively. Staff report that they have tried to encourage parents to become involved in several ways:
- By changing the times of the meetings to accommodate parent schedules; many meetings are now held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to match the times that many parents come to pick up their children;
- By increasing the ways in which a parent may become involved: staff ask parents to prepare materials for class (which can be done at home in the evening or over a weekend) and encourage them to volunteer on their days off; and
- By building the Family Service Center program with a smaller case load, so that families can connect more strongly to staff.
But the realities of the time constraints on parents have limited their involvement in the program. Staff report: (a) that parents who are in school are more likely to become involved than those who are working, and (b) that an enthusiastic teacher who rounds up parental support can make all the difference.
Different funding sources paid for the start-up costs of the full-day programs than those that pay for the ongoing costs of the programs. Grants from the state's Department of Development paid for the renovations of two facilities (Hilltop and Central United Methodist); a HUD/HHS grant paid for further renovation of the two sites in housing projects (Hilltop and Parkside). Head Start monies supplemented these funds by paying primarily for equipment and supplies for these facilities.
Ongoing expenses for the full-day programs for 3- and 4- year-olds are paid for primarily through Head Start funds, while the full-day programs for infants and toddlers are paid for primarily through the State of Ohio's "publicly funded child care" account (which is a combination of SSBG (Title XX), CCDBG, and at-risk child care funds). The basic Head Start grant does not differentiate children by the number of hours a week they are in care: MVCDC receives a flat rate per child of $3,800. However, the expenses for children in the full-day program are greater than for those in the part-day program. Therefore, Head Start monies are spent according to the need of the program; the full-day program receives more dollars per child than part-day programs. The full complement of Head Start services can be provided through the Federal grant.
Unfortunately, all of the expenses of the infant and toddler programs cannot be met through the use of publicly funded child care monies. Grantee staff report that even if every slot was filled every day of the year and the maximum rates were paid by the state, the total revenue would not quite cover the costs of the staff for the program. In this best of circumstances, no monies would be available for non-classroom staff and non- personnel expenses (e.g., utilities, equipment, supplies, food).
In order to make up the difference between the revenue and expenditures of the infant and toddler classrooms, the grantee has adopted a unique policy. Grantee staff have asked each ADC- eligible parent with a child in the Head Start full-day classroom to apply for publicly funded child care money. The grantee defines Head Start for these children as a four-hour-a-day program, leaving at least five hours a day defined as "child care," to be paid for by public funds.
To qualify for state-funded child care reimbursement, a child's family must receive ADC or be income-eligible for ADC. The parent must see a case worker and be authorized for the program. The authorization form is recorded in the county's computer, and the grantee receives a printout of all children who are enrolled and qualify for publicly funded reimbursements. The State of Ohio does not require attendance on the part of the child every day in order to pay the reimbursement; it will be paid as long as the family is eligible.
The State of Ohio surveys child care providers each year and sets maximum rates to be paid for part-time and full-time services, depending on the age of the child. For FY 94, the weekly rates were as follows:
A child who attends for 25 hours a week or more is considered to attend full-time.
Through 1993, the grantee was reimbursed by public funds for full-time care for those Head Start children who were declared eligible. In the spring of 1994, the state argued that MVCDC was "double dipping" and that it would subsequently pay the part-time rate for these children.
Publicly funded child care in Ohio has a sliding fee scale for parents. However, MVCDC does not collect the "parent share" from parents of 3- and 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start.
Head Start funds pay for the full-day program for 3- and 4- year-old children, so cost allocation is not needed: each line item is paid for by one source. However, MVCDC is also collecting state monies for these 3- and 4-year-olds. MVCDC puts the money it collects from the state into its preschool fund, which shows a profit at the end of the year. It then transfers the "profit" to a "corporate" account, which can be used to pay for the deficit in infant and toddler care.
Grantee staff report that their expenses for full-time care are now fully covered, but that they do experience difficulties in the process of collecting reimbursements:
- Parents often need care immediately to take a job, enroll in an educational program, or continue working, yet there is often a delay in receipt of the paperwork for the child. If the grantee enrolls the child before paperwork is received in order to assist the parent, the grantee risks not being paid;
- The grantee may enroll a child because the parent reports that she has been authorized (and a case worker may confirm this), but when the printout arrives, the child's name is not on it. The grantee may not be paid until the correction is made; however, if the parent is truly not eligible, the grantee will never be paid;
- Authorized changes to the listing of eligible children can take two months to come through on the printout, and the grantee cannot be reimbursed until the computer has the corrected data;
- The county case worker often knows that a family has become ineligible before the parent tells the grantee, so the grantee can lose the ability to collect for child care services at the end of the child care time as well as at the beginning; and
- Case worker turnover in the county office is high. Two years ago, all eight case workers resigned at the same time. So, it takes considerable energy and time to maintain good working relationships with staff at the county office.
A further complexity is added by the requirement that parents who are eligible for ADC but not receiving it (e.g., those who are in school or working at a low-paying job) must pay a portion of the weekly cost of child care, or a minimum of $15. The grantee can bill the county for its share, but must bill each parent separately for his/her share. Collection from parents is a lengthy and difficult process. One staff member in the fiscal office must make this a major part of her job.
Grantee staff report several issues in managing the funds for full-day services. They are uncomfortable with the current arrangement for funding for the infant and toddler programs for four reasons: (1) it is cumbersome to follow through on all of the details required to get state reimbursement; (2) it is difficult to collect from parents; (3) the total amount of the reimbursement is insufficient to cover the costs of infant and toddler care; and (4) staff would rather not ask parents of preschoolers to apply for public funds in order to make up the difference. Staff would like to see Head Start fund infant and toddler care, so all of their monies would come from this single source, and staff could concentrate more on the delivery of quality services than finding funding for them.
Staff feel that there are significant benefits to families in the offering of full-day care to preschool age children and their siblings. Parents are able to attend school or work at a job and feel comfortable about the safety and development of their children. The children are in one place for the entire day with one set of providers who come to know them well.
The pressure on the grantee seems to be to increase the hours of service, both in terms of offering full-day opportunities for more families and extending the hours of care now offered during the day. Families are asking for early morning, evening, and weekend care to allow for coverage during the hours they work. The grantee administrative staff worry about such an extension, because each time they convert a part- day double session class to a full-day class, they must either cut their funded enrollment or find a new facility. Neither is easy to do.
The funding of full-day services continues to be a challenge. Staff must find start-up funds from sources different from those that provide ongoing funding (state social services and Head Start). They must put together grant applications, and sometimes these do not result in funding. Even when they do receive start-up funding, they must continue to be creative in order to provide the full set of services they believe all children and families need.
West Central Development Corporation
JANICE NIELSON, DIRECTOR
West Central Development Corporation operates a full-day full-year program for 30 3- to 5-year-old children, housed in the "solo parent" dormitory of the Denison Job Corps Center. Parents and children live upstairs; the Job Corps infant and toddler care program and the Head Start program occupy the first floor of the building. Job Corps paid for the renovation and continues to pay for the ongoing expenses of utilities, maintenance, telephone, food service, clerical support, transportation for field trips, health examinations for the children of Job Corps students, and parenting skills classes. It also supports the Head Start program in various ways: by scheduling significant amounts of time for its students to volunteer in the Head Start classroom; by supplying work experience students in the Certified Nursing Assistants program, the Homemaker Health Aide program, and the Culinary Arts program to assist in Head Start; and by providing access to the Individualized Learning Center for parents. Head Start used "renovation" money to pay for the furniture and equipment for the two classrooms, and funds the remainder of the program for children and families.
- Auspices: Community action agency
- Area served: Rural
- Head Start funded enrollment: 421
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 30
- Full-day care provider: Grantee agency
- Non-Head Start funding source: Job Corps
West Central Development Corporation (WCDC) is a Community Action Agency that directly operates Head Start programs in a 10- county area in western Iowa. The region is predominantly rural farm land, with centers located in small towns and in the city of Council Bluffs. In the 1994 fiscal year, the grantee offered Head Start services to 421 3- to 5-year-olds in three different program options. In rural areas, 126 children are served in 3.5- hour a day, 4-day a week, double session programs; in the city, 265 children are served in 4-hour a day, 4-day a week programs. All of these children are served only during the school year. Finally, in the Job Corps Center, 30 children are served 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 240 days a year. About 97 percent of the children are white, 2 percent are Hispanic, and 1 percent are black. About 99 percent are native English speakers.
History of the Full-Day Program
WCDC operated a full-day program in the 1960s and 1970s, but changed to all part-day sessions in 1979-80. During the 1980s, WCDC tried a combination option, a home-based program, and double session classes, because of a lack of facilities in the area. In 1992, the current collaboration began when Job Corps staff members called to ask about the potential of offering full-day Head Start in the Job Corps center. Negotiations, approvals, and renovations of the facility occupied nearly two years, and the Denison Job Corps Center's Head Start classes opened for children in January of 1994.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
The 30 children in full-day Head Start are in two classrooms — one licensed for 13 children and one for 17 children. Generally, the younger children are in the smaller class, while the older ones are in the larger room. The program currently is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., five days a week, 50 weeks a year. The agreement negotiated with Job Corps states that the program may be open until 4:30 p.m., but at this time, Job Corps (and other parents served in this center) do not need the extra hour.
Priority for the 30 slots is given to Job Corps students. In planning the program, staff estimated that a minimum of 15 slots would be held by Job Corps clients' children, but that number has not yet been realized. At any given time, Head Start tends to have 10 or fewer children of Job Corps enrollees. Because Job Corps can enroll individuals who are 15 or 16 years of age (most of its students are teenagers), there have been many more infants and toddlers needing care than children of preschool age.
WCDC fills the remaining slots with children from the local area whose parents are in school, working more than 20 hours a week, or whose families are in crisis (e.g., homeless, have a mental health issue). Working closely with private day care in the local area, the facility may recommend a family try Head Start. Conversely, Head Start may transport a child to private day care, if the child needs care beyond the hours Head Start operates.
The collaborative arrangement that allows this program to operate takes the form of a memorandum of understanding between the Denison Job Corps Center and WCDC. It was signed by both parties in September of 1993, authorizing the operation of a Head Start program to be called "Beyond Dreams." Job Corps, as part of the understanding, will:
- Provide the facilities and furnishings for Head Start's classroom of 13 children;
- Renovate the space for Head Start's classroom of 17 children;
- Provide all maintenance and upkeep of the facility, indoors and outdoors;
- Provide utilities and phone service;
- Provide all food in meals and snacks in compliance with USDA standards;
- Supply transportation for field trips;
- Provide for clerical support through the Job Corps' Work Experience Program;
- Provide for medical and dental examinations for all children of Job Corps enrollees, in compliance with Head Start requirements;
- Provide ongoing parenting skills classes for all parents;
- Coordinate Job Corps Students' schedules to allow them to participate as volunteers in Head Start classrooms;
- Provide Work Experience students from the Certified Nursing Assistants, Homemaker Home Health Aide, and Culinary Arts programs;
- Provide all parents with access to a literacy program;
- Provide orientation for the Job Corps program to all Head Start staff;
- Employ a child care administrator credentialed to operate a licensed child care facility to serve as operational manager; and
- Provide center operating procedures.
WCDC agrees to:
- Provide priority enrollment of Job Corps enrollees' children into Head Start;
- Provide classroom staff to operate the Head Start program for 30 children, 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year;
- Renovate, furnish, and equip the classroom for 17 children;
- Provide all supplies;
- Administer and provide all Head Start mandated services;
- Provide liability coverage;
- Provide access for Job Corps parents to the Parent Policy Council; and
- Provide CDA training to at least 10 Job Corps parents.
The Job Corps director is strongly behind this cooperative arrangement, and would like to see Head Start take over the entire child care operation as soon as possible. The director feels comfortable about calling the Head Start director about any issue and appreciates not having to worry over this aspect of the program for solo parents. In terms of daily operation, Head Start's sector supervisor has an office next door to Job Corps' child care administrator, and they coordinate in solving problems of day-to-day operations.
Head Start staff believe that they have been given a facility that is truly "beyond dreams." Not only is it newly renovated, but Job Corps went far beyond "the call of duty" to supply a high quality space for children. For example, there is an indoor play area furnished like an outdoor play ground, with many tricycles and other small vehicles. The kitchen has stainless steel tables, extensive storage space, and an enviable stove. All in all, a considerable gift.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
The morning schedule for children has times slated for art activities, morning circle, handwashing, breakfast, toothbrushing, free play, music, outdoor play, story time, handwashing, and lunch. Children then brush their teeth again and prepare for naptime. Free play follows naptime, as does handwashing, a snack, toothbrushing, outdoor play, and departure. Thus, the activities are fairly typical for Head Start. Program Performance Standards are followed throughout the day. But in this case, there is no structured learning activity in the afternoon.
Each of the two classrooms has a full-time teacher, a full- time aide, and a half-time aide (who "floats" between the two classes). Staff members stagger their starting and ending times to cover the full hours of the day. The floating aide makes sure everyone has a break during the day. Planning, recordkeeping, and journal writing occur mostly during naptime, when the teacher retreats to her corner desk and the aide watches over the children. The floating aide can replace a teacher who needs to conduct a home visit.
Once a year, at the beginning of September, the program closes for two days in order to allow everyone to attend intensive preservice training. While the program is operating, monthly in-service training sessions are offered for all of the grantee's classroom staff. The full-day staff rotate in terms of who attends each monthly training session; the one who attends spends naptime explaining the training content to the one who remains behind. Usually, the floating aide can relieve the attendee from one class and the family service worker assigned to the Job Corps center can relieve the attendee in the other class so that two teachers can attend each training.
WCDC has an excellent record of parent involvement. Their FY 94 PIR showed that 92 percent of parents attended at least one parent education session, and 86 percent of parents volunteered in the classroom.
Parent involvement is greatly enhanced by a Job Corps' requirement that each parent spend the morning in Head Start one week of each month. It is simply a part of their Job Corps schedule to volunteer to spend time at Head Start. There also are many ways in which Head Start staff members encourage parent involvement. For instance, each teacher keeps a journal for each child, writing daily about the child and about activities that the parent might do at home to enhance the child's learning. Journals go home with the child at least twice a week, to give parents a chance to read about their child's activities, accomplishments, and other issues, and to give parents a chance to write to the teacher with comments, questions, and responses. Parent meetings are held in the evenings, lasting about an hour and a half. These (and fund raising activities) bring together town and Job Corps parents.
Job Corps also supports parent involvement by scheduling a class for all students in basic parenting skills. The course is taught by a counselor and other staff members, and its content is accepted by both Head Start and Job Corps.
The full-day program is funded jointly by the Job Corps and Head Start, according to the memorandum of understanding described above.
No parent fees are charged directly. However, Job Corps funds a part of the program by ensuring that all Job Corps parents are eligible for ADC and enrolled in Promise Jobs, the state work-welfare program. When a parent applies for Job Corps, he or she also must go through the paperwork of a state recruitment agency, ADC, and Promise Jobs.
Once accepted, the parent receives a monthly check, a part of which must be paid to Job Corps for the additional cost of his or her apartment as well as child care. (Most Job Corps students are housed three or four to a room; solo parents have a room for themselves and their child(ren), a bathroom, and a kitchen shared with one other parent and child. The housing cost for the solo parent, therefore, is considerably higher than a single student's cost.)
A Job Corps fiscal officer meets with staff from each of the three state agencies at least once a month to address issues, and she spends a great deal of time getting students caught up on their payments. However, even with these payments, Job Corps must contribute an equal amount to fund the infant and toddler care. Ergo, Job Corps would greatly appreciate a national collaboration across Head Start and Job Corps to arrange for child care payments that are not only mutually acceptable, but bypass the multitude of state agencies currently involved.
The collaboration has a simple principle upon which funding is based: Decide up front who will pay for what services, sign an agreement, and then follow it. According to their memorandum of understanding, Job Corps has a list of items to pay for and so does Head Start. They do not exchange funds; they simply fund the program jointly by each paying for their own part.
There are, however, two fiscal issues of concern to the collaboration. First, all of the contributions of Job Corps to the Head Start program are paid for by Federal dollars and cannot be counted as in-kind. Therefore, the Head Start centers in other locations must generate more than 20 percent in-kind contributions in order to supplement the in-kind generated by the Denison Job Corps Center Head Start program.
Second, Job Corps would very much like Head Start to take over the program for infants and toddlers. They are willing to make the same sort of arrangement to supply facilities, but Job Corps finds the process of funding their current program to be onerous and wants its funding to become part of Head Start.
Several challenges were met by staff in establishing this full-day program. First, they had to mesh Job Corps and Head Start requirements. The directors of Head Start and the Job Corps Center reported that approvals of architectural drawings were required from regional and national offices of both programs, that Federal staff often did not agree with one another, and that the approvals took far too much time. One office would approve a drawing; the other would ask for changes. The architect would make changes and then the other office would disapprove of some feature. A joint agreement established at the national level would greatly facilitate such endeavors in the future.
Second, the staffing of these full-day classrooms is not ideal. Staff members do not have sufficient breaks, time for home visits, and time for training. The director currently uses the "floating aide" to help relieve the full-day staff, but would like to see a third full-time staff member in each class, and/or higher pay for the current staff.
Third, one cook with periodic assistance from Work Experience staff is not ideal. The cook must create different meals for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and amounts must be exact. At present, Head Start staff are seeing too little milk or too much of some foods in meals served to their children. It may be that the cook needs one regular, paid assistant in order to make certain that all USDA requirements are adhered to. Head Start and Job Corps need to do some negotiating on this at the local level.
Although faced with some challenges, grantee staff feel very positive about their offering of full-day services and think frequently about ways to expand these services. For example, Head Start staff have conducted a number of needs assessments in their service area, surveying parents, day care home providers, businesses, and community members about the need for care. Of the 411 parents who answered the survey, 220 (more than half) said that full-day care (at least 6 hours a day, 5 days a week) would best meet their child care needs. A full 275 said that if Head Start could offer day care, they would enroll their child(ren) in the full-day program. Thus, grantee staff see a large unmet need for full-day care; and they are very pleased to be able to offer at least 30 families this option. Staff members feel strongly that parents are more relaxed if they know their children are in a good learning environment, are safe, and will remain in one place for the whole day. Expansion of full-day services would further assist community families with young children.
Tulare County Child Care Educational Program
SENAIDA GARCIA, DIRECTOR
The Tulare County Child Care Educational Program directly operates full-day, full-year services for 681 children, which at all times follows the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Approximately half of these children are funded by Head Start's Region IX or its Migrant Program Division; the other half are funded in full or in part by the California Department of Education. Regardless of funding source, the full-day children are served together in a primarily center-based program. Only Head Start migrant children are served in family homes. Program costs are split proportionally among the program's three funding sources, using the same collocated formula for each program expense. Program hours and parent involvement activities are structured flexibly to accommodate the difficult schedules of agricultural laborers.
- Auspices: School system
- Area served: Rural
- Head Start funded enrollment: 1,396
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 515
- Full-day care provider: Grantee agency
- Non-Head Start funding source: State General Child Care, parent fees
The Tulare County Child Care Educational Program serves both Head Start and non-Head Start children in a largely collocated program that offers both center-based and home-based program options. The grantee operates 27 centers and 19 migrant and home preschool family homes23 scattered over an area of 4,953 square miles in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, near Fresno, California. The area includes eight incorporated towns24 and large unincorporated and agricultural sections containing some of the most intensive farming in the United States.
The Tulare County program receives funding for its direct services from Head Start's Region IX, Head Start's Migrant Program Division, and the California Department of Education. These resources allow it to support the following part-day program options:
- Part-day Head Start (including either a home-based or center-based option, the latter for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 863 children, aged 3 to 5;
- Head Start home preschool (4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 18 3- to 5-year-olds in two day care homes; and
- A part-day center-based program funded by a state preschool contract (4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 420 children, aged 3 to 5, who are collocated with Head Start part-day children.
In addition, the program offers the following full-day program options:
- Migrant Head Start (10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 6 to 9 months a year) for 44 children, aged 0 to 5, in 17 family day care homes;
- Full-day Head Start (10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 230 days a year25) for 32026 children in a center-based program;
- Full-day (8 to 12 hours a day) state-funded General Child Care (GCC), for children of parents who are working or in training, for 150 pre-school aged children, including 12 toddlers (all of whom are collocated with Head Start children, except the toddlers); and
- A full-day summer program for 35 school-aged children (aged 5 to 13) funded by the California Department of Education.
In addition, 151 preschool-aged children receive a full-day program (following Head Start Program Performance Standards) that is funded for part of the day (4 hours) by Head Start and for the other part (4 to 8 hours) by state GCC.
Finally, the Tulare program operates a contract services department in which it brokers child care for approximately 1,060 children, under a nearly $3 million annual contract with the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), Federal Block Grant, and Title IV-A Federal child care program. Under this contract, Tulare matches parents eligible for these programs with one of over 300 licensed child care centers or homes in the community.
Agriculture continues to be the biggest industry in Tulare County, providing 29 percent of all jobs. Seasonal farm labor constitutes the primary occupation for the approximately 26 percent of the county's households who are living below the poverty level; 8,700 children in these households are age- and income-eligible for Head Start.27 Seventy-seven percent of Tulare's Head Start enrollment is Hispanic, 11 percent is white, eight percent is Asian, two percent is black, and over one percent is American Indian. Eighty percent of the program's children speak Spanish, and 60 percent of the program's staff is bilingual.
History of the Full-Day Program
The history of the program's full-day services dates to the program's first year of service in 1965. At that time, the program operated under the auspices of a community action program (CAP). The director of the CAP (a local rancher) surveyed a group of low-income parents in the community in 1965, and asked them what kind of child care they needed. Then, as now, both parents in farm labor families worked in the fields for a 12-hour day during the peak harvest season to earn enough money for the family to live on for the rest of the year. These parents asked the CAP director for full-day child care, which he funded through a combination of Head Start and non-Head Start Federal migrant money (Head Start migrant funds were not yet available). The program later received a relatively small amount of Head Start migrant funding and Head Start full-day funding as well.
Full-day services, however, were provided to a much larger group of children when the Head Start program transferred (in 1967) from CAP auspices to those of the Tulare County public schools. The county schools were able to obtain additional wraparound funding (in 1972) from the California Department of Education to subsidize the regular half-day Head Start program. These new General Child Care (GCC) and State Preschool (SPS) funds had been available in California since 1945, when many women supporting the war effort went to work in the California shipyards.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
Farm labor families today have the same need for child care that they did in 1965, based on the program's most recent parent needs assessment survey (completed by 997 parents), in which 59 percent requested full-day care. As a result, all but 9 of Tulare's 27 centers remain open for at least an 8-hour day to serve 621 of the 681 children who receive full-day service.28 In addition, 60 migrant Head Start children are served for the full- day in 17 migrant family homes — a locally designed program option.
Most centers and migrant homes are open from 5:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the summer months, and from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the rest of the year; some centers, however, are open from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Parents must provide transportation to and from the programs. All full-day centers are open for 230 days a year; they are closed on weekends and for two weeks in July and two weeks in December. The center closings in July create a great deal of hardship for families who are working in the fields, but the Head Start director says her program does not have enough funding to hire substitute staff during that time. She recognizes that it would be better for families, though, if she were able to stagger staff summer vacations.
All children who receive full-day services must meet either Head Start or GCC income eligibility criteria.29 Parents whose children are funded in full or in part by GCC must also be working, in training, looking for work, or have "special circumstances," as defined by the California Department of Education (such as disabilities).
Children who are funded in full by Head Start, in full by GCC, or by both Head Start and GCC are collocated in the same classrooms. (Migrant Head Start children are served exclusively in migrant Head Start homes and are not collocated with non-Head Start children.) When parents enroll their children in the center-based program, they are told which funding source is paying for their child's participation, and center supervisors know children's funding designations for administrative purposes. No other staff member, however, is aware of funding source differences among children, and therefore, all children are treated in exactly the same manner.
The Tulare program's 27 centers had a total waiting list in July of 1994 of 651 children for both full- and part-day service (between 10 and 100 children were waitlisted at each center). The director said that the majority of the children were waiting for full-day service, although she could not readily distinguish between the two without consulting each center individually. Although waiting list ranks are determined primarily by income, as prescribed by the GCC and SPS programs, families also are prioritized based on the 1991 recommendations of the area's Child Care Coordinating Council (a group representing all local social service agencies and a sample of parents that was established to determine the county's day care needs). In cases of equal income, priority is given to homeless parents, teenage parents, incapacitated parents, or parents with special needs children who require respite care. Priority also is given to parents working, seeking employment, or in training. Children referred by Child Protective Services (CPS) are given highest wait-list priority, regardless of parental income.
No particular collaboration is used to support the full-day program; the grantee supports the delivery of all services.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedule and Program Features
Tulare centers follow a traditionally structured Head Start schedule in the morning hours; and the Amanecer curriculum is used in most classrooms where a large proportion of the students are bilingual. Afternoon activities are less structured than morning activities, generally including a two to two-and-one-half hour nap or quiet time, followed by bathroom routines, snacks, and outdoor free play. This afternoon flexibility is necessary for two reasons: (1) children begin to tire in the afternoon; and (2) parents begin to pick up their children by 3:00 p.m., which can disrupt more structured activities. Tulare's migrant family day care homes do not use specific curricula, but as with center-based programs, structured age and developmentally appropriate activities are provided, as are scheduled meal, snack, and naptimes.
Tulare's programs are monitored not only through Head Start procedures (including yearly self-evaluations and triennial OSPRI monitoring visits), but by the California Department of Education, which involves a triennial "coordinating compliance review" by a second monitoring team.
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.
All teaching and most administrative staff receive Head Start training, even though Head Start pays for only a portion of staff salaries (see below) and teachers work with both Head Start and non-Head Start children. Head Start training and technical assistance funding pays for much of the training, and the SPS program also provides an incentive grant for staff training. Staff participate in four categories of training: pre-service, orientation, in-service workshops, and in-service conferences. Some training is done on Saturdays, including two annual conferences for the full staff, but most training is conducted during the week during children's naptime, when center supervisors (who also are credentialed teachers) step in to relieve staff in training. Staff receive two weeks of paid leave in July. They also receive additional paid compensatory leave at the December holidays, up to the number of hours of Saturday training in which they have participated.
Parent involvement activities are supervised by the Tulare program's Head Start Parent Involvement Coordinator and are planned and run by the 27 center supervisors. All parents are eligible to participate in the parent involvement component, regardless of the source(s) that fund their child's participation. The parent involvement coordinator said that the parents "... all think of themselves as Head Start, particularly because they all have roughly the same incomes." When children's parents are unable to attend parent involvement activities, several centers recruit teenaged siblings or grandparents to serve as "extended family parents."
Each center has a parent committee of five representatives elected or approved by all of the center's parents. The chairman of each center committee sits on the Head Start Policy Council,33 which meets once a month in the evening. (Babysitting and mileage are provided by the program.) The Policy Council approves all hiring and termination decisions for any program staff member, even though staff are only funded in part by Head Start.
Since many parents are seasonal farm laborers, they often are unable to participate in Head Start in a conventional manner, such as classroom volunteering. Instead, centers conduct lunch hour parent meetings and monthly evening parent education classes. Training topics at the meetings are determined by the Policy Council's three-year plans and by annual parent education surveys, which ask parents about their training needs. In this way, says the parent involvement coordinator, parents have input into and "ownership" of their parent education activities. At these meetings, staff provide parents with "home learning activities," which parents can continue to use at home with their children.
Some parents come to the center on weekends to provide in- kind donations of yard work and equipment or facilities repair. Parents also provide to the program fresh produce they have harvested and complete program administrative work or make classroom materials at home. Last year, parents raised $29,000 for the program through garage sales and raffles underwritten by local merchants. One center holds a weekend "parent carnival" to help parents socialize.
The Tulare County Child Care Educational Program34 is funded by one Federal and two state sources: the Head Start program (for both the Region IX and the Migrant Program Branch) and the California Department of Education GCC and SPS programs. The program's full-day slots are funded by only two of these sources — Head Start and GCC.
Parent fees are assessed only for children funded by the GCC program, when gross monthly family income exceeds 50 percent of the state median income ($39,000). Parents pay full-time fees when their child receives more than 35 hours of care per week; otherwise, they pay part-time fees (the program does not use hourly fees). Fees are levied only for the portion of the care funded by GCC; parents never pay fees for Head Start (or SPS) service.
Head Start is a grant program and GCC (and SPS) is funded through state contracts. A single "collocated formula" is used to allocate costs across budget line items, regardless of whether expenses are for full-day or part- day programs. This simple cost allocation formula has been approved by both the California Department of Education and the Head Start program. For each budget line item, expenses are assigned as followed:
This proportional formula applies to all staff salaries, even though some teachers may not teach any Head Start children, while others may teach only Head Start children. Likewise, all administrators are paid according to this formula, regardless of the actual percentage of the time they devote to each program, and all centers are considered equally eligible for new Head Start program improvement or expansion funding, regardless of the percentages of Head Start children served at each center. When new Head Start funds are allocated to the program, administrators assign funds to centers based on need; and all cost allocation is performed using custom software designed by the California Department of Education.
The administrative staff of the Tulare County Child Care Educational Program has managed the same three funding sources for many years, and so are familiar and comfortable with the administrative and fiscal requirements of the programs. However, certain complexities are endemic to multiple funding stream management, according to the program director.
Funding source restrictions. State Department of Education funding sources have different eligibility rules than does Head Start. Whereas Head Start allows 10 percent of its enrollment to be from families who exceed the Federal poverty level, GCC and SPS require that every child meet state-mandated low-income criteria. However, these California income guidelines are much more lenient than Federal guidelines; a family of 4 can earn up to $27,000 a year without losing program eligibility. The program director says these higher income guidelines are necessary in California, where the cost of living is much higher than in the rest of the nation. She feels that Head Start income guidelines are, in fact, too low to ensure that the California "working poor" remain eligible for the program.
Furthermore, GCC funding is provided only to children whose parents are working, in training, looking for work, or are victims of "special circumstances." If parents have been unemployed for more than 60 days and are not in a training program, their children must be dropped from the Tulare program. When this occurs, the administrative staff can sometimes make "paper enrollment switches" that allow a disqualified child to remain in the program. For instance, a GCC-funded child could be switched to Head Start funding, in place of a child currently funded by Head Start who is also eligible for GCC.
Funding source sufficiency. Since GCC and SPS funding actually pays more per slot than does Head Start, the Head Start director feels relatively comfortable about her program's funding sources. (The GCC program pays approximately $22 per child per 8-hour day, while the SPS program pays $12.57 for a 4-hour day). The director noted that through the use of funding "adjustment factors," the GCC program makes accommodations for children who receive full-day versus part-day service and for children who are more difficult to serve, such as infants and children who are severely handicapped. For instance, a child served for half a day carries a funding weight of .55, while a child served for a full-day carries a weight of 1.00. Likewise, full-day children who are severely handicapped are weighted at 1.50, while full-day children at risk of abuse or neglect are weighted at 1.10. The director feels that Head Start, too, could benefit from the use of such an approach.
The director feels comfortable about her program funding levels for a number of other reasons. First of all, the Tulare program participates in local market-rate surveys of child care, which are used in determining GCC funding levels. Secondly, the GCC and SPS programs, as well as Head Start, allow the program to reserve 15 percent of expenses for administrative costs. Finally, since the Tulare program operates under the umbrella of the County Superintendent of Schools, it receives a greater degree of income security than it would if it operated as a stand-alone agency.
Reimbursement funding sources. Under the Tulare program's contract with the California Department of Education for both GCC and SPS, the program is reimbursed for children whose absences are excused and for children whose absences are unexcused, as long as the unexcused absence rate is not greater than 5 percent. The director noted, however, that the state's definition of excused absences is much broader and more clearly defined than that of Head Start, as it includes not only child illness but parent illness and family emergencies. For this reason, she says, Tulare's attendance rate has never fallen below the mandated level. However, the program does lose money when a GCC or SPS child drops the program before another child can be enrolled in his or her place. In such a case, the Superintendent of Schools must absorb the loss.
Staff salary adjustments. The only time the program's multiple funding streams cause cost allocation difficulties is when Head Start provides a quality improvement salary increase or cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that is not provided by the GCC or SPS programs. If such occurs, the Head Start salary increase is passed on to every staff member in the program, since 62 percent of each staff member's salary is paid by Head Start. According to the director, Head Start Federal staff voiced concern over this policy in recent years, because they felt they were funding salary increases for a greater number of staff than Head Start alone was paying for. Thus far, however, Head Start has allowed the Tulare program's method of allocating salary increases to stand, because the program also can claim that it uses the additional funding to serve more of the program's total enrollment through Head Start, rather than through GCC or SPS.35 Of course, in reality, this is just a "paper adjustment" among the three funding sources, because the Tulare program does not use the additional Head Start funding to increase the total number of children actually served.
The Tulare Head Start director is pleased that multiple funding streams have allowed her to serve so many children in a program that follows the Head Start Program Performance Standards for the full-day. Her collocated cost allocation formula also allows her to administer the program's funds with relative ease. In the face of increasing demands for full-day care in her community, however, she would like to be able to serve greater numbers of children, including infants and toddlers, for whom there are few programs available. The Head Start regional program specialist for the Tulare program also was concerned about the lack of training provided to grantees regarding full- day services. Instead of training and support, he noted, the prevailing attitude for many years was that full-day service was almost prohibited. Instead of asking how programs like Tulare Head Start "get away with it," he said, Head Start should make a concerted effort to use these veteran full-day providers as models for other grantees.
Puget Sound Educational Service District (ESD)
JOHN BANCROFT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Puget Sound ESD offers several models of full-day services for Head Start children, the most fully developed of which is their family child care model. Puget Sound subcontractors offering center-based full-day services include a local YWCA operating in a transitional housing project, a community college, and a Comprehensive Child Development Program. In the fall of 1994, the group will expand to include a local school district program. All full-day programs meet Head Start Performance Standards all of the day, and each full-day program uses a state child care subsidy as well as Head Start funding to be financially viable; some sites use other funding sources as well.
- Auspices: School system
- Area served: Urban/Suburban/Rural
- Head Start funded enrollment: 1,026
- Head Start full-day enrollment: 103
- Full-day care providers: Contracted centers and family child care homes
- Non-Head Start funding sources: State child care subsidy (SSBG, AFDC/JOBS, Child Protective Services, Child Welfare Services Child Care)
Puget Sound ESD is a Regional School District that does not directly operate any programs. Rather, its 21 center-based Head Start sites and 10 family child care homes are managed through contracts with school districts, community and technical colleges, licensed family child care homes, and other organizations. The grantee agency employs a staff of coordinators and managers who provide program planning and development, training, and technical assistance. In 1994, Puget Sound served a total of 1,264 Head Start children and 1,700 children in its state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which is similar to Head Start.
Puget Sound's service area includes all of King County, except for the city of Seattle, and all of Pierce County, except for the city of Tacoma. This geographically large service area (including, urban, suburban, and rural communities) has experienced rapid population growth and increasing diversity since 1980. Today, the overall demographic profile of the population served is about 60 percent white, 20 percent African American, 10 percent Asian, 8 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Native American, with varying demographics across the service area, and with 23 languages represented among Head Start children. Over 60 percent of the families served are on AFDC, but only a small percentage of these families has been on welfare for a long time. The average Head Start family income in 1993 was $8,807.
In 1989, Puget Sound received a five-year grant from ACYF to operate a Comprehensive Child Development Program (CCDP), which enrolls families with children from 0 to 5 years of age and offers them an array of family support services. In 1993, the grantee received a three-year grant from Head Start for a demonstration program serving homeless families living in transitional housing — a program providing full-day/full-year services and transportation to children ages 0 to 4. Using the family child care model, this program provides Head Start and augmented services to meet the needs of homeless families.
History of the Full-Day Program
Puget Sound began to offer full-day Head Start in centers in the 1980's, with the opening of a small program at Bellevue Community College. In April of 1993, a second program opened at Redmond Family Village, a transitional housing facility operated by the YWCA. A third program began in January 1994 — Families First Head Start — that combines Head Start funds with CCDP funds and state child care subsidies. Finally, a program at Sherwood Forest is scheduled to open in September of 1994, but will not be discussed at length because it was not operative at the time of the site visit.
In 1990, Puget Sound received a three-year demonstration grant to develop and operate in a different venue — family child care homes. One purpose of the project was to explore the feasibility of training low-income parents to become family child care providers, thus helping them to gain economic self- sufficiency. Under the demonstration, 4 of 11 family child care providers were AFDC recipients and two others had incomes low enough for their own children to qualify for Head Start. About 30 families were provided full-day services each year under this three-year demonstration grant.
When the demonstration funding ended in February of 1993, the program received "bridge funding" to continue operating until September of that year. The grantee then received expansion funding, which allowed it to operate the program as part of regular Head Start. One change in the program as it moved from a demonstration to an ongoing option was in the recruitment and selection of providers. Because it was more costly to bring AFDC recipients "on-line," the grantee chose to require that new providers have a high school diploma or GED and already be licensed for family child care by the state. Puget Sound staff could then train them to be Head Start providers. Program managers and coordinators indicate that the family child care Head Start program had a "rocky road" to travel at first, requiring extensive facilities upgrades, training, recruitment, and parent education, but the process is "smoothing out" and the prospects for success of the ongoing program are very good.
In launching the initial demonstration grant, Puget Sound had relatively little "hard" data on the need for full-day services, but it went ahead with the idea because anecdotal evidence and input from child care, Head Start, and income assistance staff indicated a strong need for full-day Head Start/child care services, capable of serving all children under 5 years of age in a family. In 1992, Puget Sound joined with the state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs (ECEAP) to conduct a community needs assessment for the period 1992 to 1995. This study quantified the need for full-day services and identified the locations with the most significant service gaps. Welfare reform efforts in the state have also given full-day services a push.
The grantee acknowledges strong support from Head Start Region X for their efforts to provide full-day Head Start. The regional office is learning, along with Puget Sound ESD, about the complexities of such efforts, especially with regard to meshing multiple funding streams.
Structure of the Full-Day Program
As summarized in Exhibit 1, the full-day program options are:
- Family child care Head Start, in which Head Start wraps additional services into existing child care homes;
- Family child care Head Start with augmented case management services for homeless families;
- Center-based Head Start for families in transitional housing, with augmented case management services (Redmond Family Village); and
- Center-based Head Start (Bellevue Community College and Families First).
Family Child Care Head Start
This family child care option serves 30 children 6 weeks to 5 years of age in 10 family child care homes. Hours of operation for the homes are generally 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m, 5 days a week, 12 months a year. Family child care providers operate as independent entities licensed by the state and under contract with Puget Sound ESD Head Start, and are paid by the state child care subsidies for basic child care hours. From Head Start, providers receive training and technical assistance, equipment and supplies, liability insurance payment subsidy, assistance with recruitment of children, enrollment of Head Start families, payment for substitutes to free-up their time for training, mental health consultation, monthly meetings, and a monthly newsletter.
Head Start families and children receive the same services that center-based Head Start families receive, including a developmentally appropriate program, health and nutrition screening and follow-up, social service assistance and referrals, mental health services, policy council representation, parent meetings, and a monthly newsletter. A provider also may serve children not enrolled in Head Start, but in that case must have at least two openings for Head Start children in order to participate in the program. Family child care providers usually include 5 to 6 children, but can be licensed for up to 12, with an assistant.
Staff feel that family child care offers several advantages over the "normal" Head Start setting. The smaller environment of family day care, staff members indicate, is better for some children, particularly those whose home lives have been disrupted by various traumatic experiences. For some families, it is very important for siblings to be together during the day and to have a single provider. (It was also noted that the mixed ages in family day care can be less awkward for children who are developmentally delayed.)
Family day care providers can enroll children in Head Start at a younger age, permitting earlier screening and intervention. Parents also may develop a more personal relationship with the family day care provider than with Head Start classroom teachers because of the small number of children in the home, the informal setting, and the twice-a-day parent/provider contact. Since the training, materials, and resources provided to Head Start family day care providers benefit all children being cared for in the home, Puget Sound Head Start staff feel that this program has spillover effects, improving the overall quality of local child care for all children.
Family Child Care for Homeless Families
Family child care for homeless families follows the same basic model as the family child care described above, with the addition of case management services for families — a responsibility of a caseworker at the transitional housing site, augmented by Head Start's homeless services coordinator. Families in this program typically move from emergency shelters into transitional housing. In the process, each parent commits to work with a caseworker to establish goals and to move toward self-sufficiency. Head Start staff work closely with these caseworkers.
Four transitional housing sites are currently participating, but it took some time to involve all of the sites. One reason for the delay was the lack of transportation for families from the transitional housing sites to the family child care homes. Puget Sound purchased a bus under the homeless grant, which enabled more transitional housing sites to participate. Five family day care providers are now serving these families, and Puget Sound plans on recruiting another five providers during the next year. Some family day care providers who were already providing Head Start services also have agreed to participate in the homeless demonstration project.
Center-Based Head Start in Transitional Housing
Redmond Family Village is a transitional housing facility for parents with children, operated on site by the YWCA. The Village opened its doors in April of 1993, and now serves 32 children, ages 1 to 6. Thirteen of the children are enrolled in Head Start. About half of the families using the child care center live or have lived in this transitional housing facility, though the center is open to any low-income family in the area. The center's hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, 12 months a year.
Puget Sound and the YWCA collaborate to offer seamless Head Start child care services at Redmond Family Village. The YWCA employs the staff of this child care program and offers residents of Redmond Family Village case management and other supportive services. Head Start contributes: staff training and support; payment for substitutes to provide staff with time for planning, training, observations, paperwork, and home visits; health, social services, and parent support; and equipment and supplies.
Center-Based Head Start
Center-based services are currently offered at two locations, Bellevue Community College and Families First CCDP. Each facility offers programs for 18 Head Start children. Bellevue serves only 4-year-olds and is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Families First CCDP serves some 3-year-olds as well as 4- year-olds and is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Though both are open five days a week, only Families First is open for the full 12 months a year.
The arrangements for funding are similar in that both sites use both Head Start and state child care subsidies, but each has its own method of combining resources. At Bellevue, the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. are paid for by Head Start, and extended hours (7:00 to 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.) are paid for with state and City of Bellevue child care funds and a small amount of parent fees. Classroom space is provided as an in-kind contribution by Bellevue Community College (located in a building that also houses a child development program run by BCC). The Head Start program pays the fees to enroll all Head Start parents in the college's Parent Education Program.
Families First Head Start combines part-day Head Start funds with CCDP funding and child care subsidies to provide a full-day program for children and extended family support services, including two nurses on-site, family advocates at a ratio of 1 advocate per 15 families, and 2 economic development coordinators who work with families.
Puget Sound ESD Head Start worked closely with a number of agencies in order to implement its full-day Head Start options. First, because its full-day services depend financially on state child care subsidies (which are administered by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)), Puget Sound has talked with DSHS staff at length about policies and procedures that could sometimes inadvertently raise barriers to implementing full-day service. For example, in establishing services under the homeless grant, Puget Sound held a meeting with DSHS and transitional housing providers to explain the program and to explore concerns.
Second, Puget Sound had to work closely with the licensing agency, as the State of Washington has more stringent standards than many states. Regulations, for instance, mandate the type of mats used for naps and the distance between cots or mats. In addition, Head Start sites wanting to implement full-day services must have a licensed child care supervisor who must attend specific training meetings. To be sure they meet regulations, Puget Sound staff take a proactive approach. Before purchasing five modular buildings, for example, Puget Sound sent the proposed blueprints to the licensing agency.
Head Start staff found the licensers to be very helpful, and a good working relationship between the two agencies has been established. Interaction is facilitated by a new state mandate that requires newly hired licensers to have some background in early childhood education. Head Start has been working to improve communication with the licensing agency in order to be notified of any complaints against providers. Complaints are directed to the licensing agency but, in the past, the provider and Head Start were not always informed about the complaint.
Each Puget Sound subcontractor providing full-day services is a "living example" of collaboration between Head Start and other community agencies. One such subcontractor, Bellevue Community College (BCC), uses several collaborations to enhance its own services. First, it works with BCC's child development program, for which Head Start shares the cost of supplies (and the Head Start lead teacher supervises one to two student teachers per quarter). Second, the Head Start Family Service Worker who attends monthly meetings
with other agencies in the local area reports that Head Start has a great deal of community support, thanks to a good relationship with the City of Bellevue.
Other collaborations have been established by Families First and the homeless program. The Executive Director of Puget Sound ESD Head Start serves on the Board of Directors of Families First. The homeless program has an advisory committee that includes transitional housing organizations, other homeless programs, DSHS, King County Child Care and Head Start; and the homeless services coordinator sees Head Start's role as critical in helping DSHS and transitional housing groups understand what homeless families are facing.
Puget Sound managers and representatives of the child care community agree that collaboration between programs is the key to expanding the quality and availability of full-day services. The relationship between Head Start and child care in the Puget Sound area is excellent, in part because there is a considerable amount of employment crossover between the two programs. King County Child Care, for example, is a subsidy program for parents who are working or are in training, but who are above the DSHS income for child care subsidy. The program is county-funded and subsidizes care for 500 children served by 184 providers, including those in the city of Seattle. Child care options include home providers and centers; and a few of the sites are Head Start programs. One of the key staff members of King County Child Care started out as a Head Start parent, then was a Head Start aide, and then a Head Start teacher. She now serves on the Head Start Policy Council, on the Family Child Care Advisory Board, and on the Head Start Homeless Services Advisory Board.
Puget Sound also collaborates with Child Care Resources, a non-profit community child care information and referral agency. Child Care Resources assisted Head Start in recruiting providers for the family child care option and the homeless grant, by searching its computerized network for listings of licensed providers in specific geographic areas. Head Start staff members participate in a task group with child care providers, working toward commonality statewide in community college offerings in child development and early childhood education.
The consensus in the local child care community is that the move toward full-day Head Start is positive, but issues remain in question. One such issue regards the contribution of Puget Sound in family child care, which, while very important, serves a very small number of families. There is a concern, too, about the limited impact Head Start can have by expanding existing Head Start sites to full-day. Child care organizations would like to see Head Start assist the child care community in a broader way — by opening up training to others in the community, for instance.
Description of the Full-Day Program
Daily Schedules and Program Features
Daily schedules for full-day Head Start are standard for preschool programs, with free choice activities, small group times, outdoor activities, two daily snacks, lunch, and nap time after lunch. Planning time for teachers is scheduled daily. Most of the scheduling concerns in full-day Head Start relate to staff coverage (e.g., assuring sufficient staff/child ratios and sufficient staff planning time), rather than to scheduling children's activities.
Although subcontractors may arrange staffing patterns in any way that meets the Head Start standards, Puget Sound considers the ideal arrangement to be two teachers and two assistants who overlap hours in the middle of the day. An alternative pattern suggested by the grantee is one teacher, with assistant teachers covering the morning and late afternoon hours. Staffing patterns vary among the current full-day centers.
Puget Sound plans its staffing for full-day center-based Head Start to assure that there are 16 hours per week of teacher non-child contact time and 8 to 11 hours per week of teacher assistant non-child contact time per classroom. Either teacher assistants or part-time staff may provide the necessary classroom coverage; and home visits are usually scheduled in the late afternoon or evening.
Head Start family child care providers also make home visits. In acknowledgement of the time this involves, Head Start recently began paying for substitutes to cover time on home visits, because it was found that providers tended to conduct visits on their own time. An additional 10 hours of substitute time per provider has therefore been budgeted.
Head Start staff in the center-based and family child care options attend two days of pre-service training, in the summer, with all programs closed during this "retreat time." During the year, regular in-service training is conducted for teaching staff. For family day care providers, the education coordinator for family child care holds monthly meetings at the grantee's offices or at a provider's home.
Substitutes can be paid to cover training time, encouraging center-based staff to coordinate with one another to determine who will attend which training, assuring both adequate classroom coverage and adequate staff training. Child Care Resources has a substitute bank for center-based providers, and these individuals may be called upon to fill in for regular teachers. Most family child care providers also have a friend or relative they can call upon to substitute.
Head Start helps teachers find substitutes, but currently there is no substitute list they can call upon; and some of the family child care providers indicate that it is difficult to find substitutes. One center-based program, Families First, has a closure day once a month for training. They contract with a private day care provider to include their children or, if the parent prefers, pay for a babysitter, and then transport children to the substitute care provider. Parents are informed of this arrangement in advance, and it has been accepted by them. This allows the entire staff to participate in training.
Puget Sound places a further training requirement on family child care providers: They have one year to get their CDA. The grantee assists providers by paying for the CDA and by assigning staff to oversee the process. The education coordinator directs providers to the many classes offered in the area and serves as a CDA mentor/advisor for some providers. The education supervisor for family child care visits and observes providers about once per month; and if there are special issues to be addressed, she visits more frequently.
Finally, under the homeless demonstration, Head Start is financing other training for family child care providers to assist them in working with homeless families. For example, more training is planned on domestic violence.
Parent involvement is a challenge for all of the full-day programs. The family service worker for full-day programs works with all of the full-day providers to promote family involvement. Parent meetings for all programs are held in the evenings, and child care and food are provided.
Special activities for family child care families include: (1) a parent newsletter, to which parents may contribute items; (2) a parent lending library at each provider's home, to encourage parents to read to their children; and (3) monthly parent meetings clustered by location. A summer picnic was held for the family day care families, attended by about 80 parents, children, and providers (both Head Start and non-Head Start) in family child care, the homeless program, and the center program located in transitional housing.
The center-based programs also make special efforts around parent involvement. At Redmond Family Village, parenting skills classes and monthly parent meetings are held in the evenings in the transitional housing facility. The program has a monthly newsletter for parents, and encourages parents to contribute articles and announcements. At Bellevue, Head Start has strong parent involvement because many of the parents are located on campus, and staff are careful to pay attention to parents' school schedules, not planning anything during mid-term and final examination periods. At Families First, a parent serves as parent volunteer coordinator, paid with Head Start funds. This staffing arrangement gives credibility to the role and is a good way to keep parents involved. The program also has a dad-to-dad program, with a father as coordinator.
Since parents bring and pick up their children at the full- day programs, there is an opportunity for daily parent contact with staff. Especially in the case of family child care providers, a close relationship usually develops with parents, and providers find it easy to suggest ways that parents can become involved with their child's program, such as preparing materials for the classroom or working on the parent newsletter.
The Puget Sound grantee receives almost all of its funding from its Head Start grant. A small proportion of the program's funding comes from USDA and from the state. The grantee uses these funds to pay for administrative support: Head Start's Fiscal/MIS Specialist is responsible for fiscal monitoring of the Head Start subcontractors and preparation of budgets for Head Start; the business office prepares reports and official figures.
Multiple funding sources are used by the subcontractors to pay for each full-day program.36 For most of the full-day programs, the state child care subsidy is a major source of revenue. The state conducts surveys of the market rate for child care every three years, and its findings are used to determine reimbursement rates for the child care subsidy. Reimbursement rates have recently been increased from 25 percent to 75 percent of the market rate, a move expected to open up more slots for low-income families. The child care subsidy programs administered by the state include SSBG (Title XX), AFDC/JOBS child care, transitional child care, and child protective services and child welfare services child care.
Family child care providers receive most of their funding directly from the state child care subsidy. Puget Sound pays providers a stipend of $35 per month per Head Start child served, and $30 per month to pay substitutes in order to attend monthly meetings. It also pays for: (1) substitutes for home visits, special training sessions, and CDA classes; (2) a portion of liability insurance; and (3) facilities improvements, as well as paying for the managers and coordinators who support and monitor the family child care providers, and for the individuals who do screening, social service referrals, and mental health consultation.
The Redmond Family Village child care program receives about 50 percent of its funding from state and King County child care subsidies. Funds also come from their parent organization, the YWCA, and from grants, community and civic groups, and private donations. Head Start pays four and one-half hours per day of assistant teacher time to allow for planning, training, observations, paperwork, and home visits.
Bellevue Community College uses Head Start funds to pay for the eight core hours of service per day for children, and adds a small amount from their other sources. First, it receives a grant of about $7,000 per year from the City of Bellevue. All of the 18 families at BCC should qualify for the child care subsidy, but the BCC's family service worker indicates that families do not want to go to the trouble of applying for the subsidy, eligibility rules being the main deterrent. For example, the JOBS subsidy requires that individuals first be seen by a JOBS worker. If they are enrolled in school when they apply, individuals are usually eligible for the child care subsidy, but it is more difficult to access. BCC charges parent fees of $1.50 per hour for any extended hours not covered by a subsidy. Bills are sent out monthly; sometimes parents work at the center in exchange for payment.
Families First uses child care subsidies whenever families are eligible. However, this CCDP is a large program with a budget of $1.6 million. It can and will cover families who lose their child care subsidy or are in a period of transition and awaiting funding, in order to foster continuity of care for the child.
Only Bellevue Community College charges parent fees ($1.50 per hour), and it charges them only under the following conditions: (1) care extends beyond the core set of 8 hours per day and (2) the care is not covered by a subsidy. Charges are only levied for the additional hours beyond 8.
The Head Start grantee does not administer the funds that its subcontractors use to pay for child care. Thus, its allocation strategy is to divide fiscal responsibility up front with other agencies and only administer the Head Start part of the funding.
Differences in eligibility requirements and inconsistencies in interpretation of program rules result in uncertain funding situations and threats to the continuity of services for children. Transitions associated with parents losing child care funding are a particular concern. For example, a parent may be told she is eligible for JOBS child care, enroll her child in Head Start, and then find that she was not placed in the training class she signed up for. She is then no longer eligible for the child care subsidy. Generally, in such a case, Head Start will provide funding until the next quarter.
Another barrier occurs because of the JOBS regulation that training requests must be initiated by the JOBS case worker in order for the parent to qualify for the child care subsidy. This works against parents who take the initiative to find a training program. This issue is especially troublesome, of course, for the case managers at the transitional housing programs who are trying to promote self-sufficiency and responsibility.
Timing of enrollment also is a problem with the child care subsidies. Head Start wants to enroll families in July, but parents don't learn about funding until September.
In providing full-day services, Puget Sound found that some Head Start standards must be adapted and that sometimes the standards themselves impede the implementation of Head Start. The challenges are particularly apparent in the family child care option. Although all family child care providers agree with the Head Start philosophy, sometimes it is hard to comply with Head Start standards with a group of mixed ages. For example, Head Start recommends placing pictures low on the wall, but toddlers tear them down. Puget Sound ESD Head Start was surprised to find that one of the biggest barriers to recruiting family child care providers was that many licensed providers wanted to be able to provide a religious influence in their child care, which is against Head Start regulations.
Several special challenges have been faced. Head Start requirements for parent involvement and home visits are difficult to meet with a full-day program. To ease this problem, some staff indicated that they would like to count the time they spend with parents at arrival and departure times as "time served," but this is not currently acceptable. It is difficult to arrange sufficient staff training. Some Head Start managers report that staff experience burnout from a full-day, every day, with children; and for those staff who were used to four to six contact hours a day, the change to full-day has been difficult.
At Puget Sound ESD Head Start, managers see a need for more strategic planning around full-day services, involving all of their subcontractors in the planning process. For example, it has taken some time to convince part-day staff that Head Start family child care is still Head Start; limited resources require difficult decisions regarding expansion of full-day options when the program still does not serve all eligible children with part- day services.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Creating a 21st Century Head Start: Report of the Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion. Washington, D.C.: December 1993.
2 Ibid, pg. viii.
3 An Evaluability Assessment of Child Care Options for Work- Welfare Programs, Final Report, Maximus Inc., April 1988.
4 Private communications with Children's Defense Fund staff. Spring 1994.
5 Unpublished papers and summaries provided by ASPE staff.
6 Unpublished papers and summaries provided by ASPE staff.
7 A few children receive full-day services because of referrals from child protective services.
8 Note that this policy has now been changed and only reimburses the grantee on a part-day basis for children in the Head Start full- day class.
9 Of the 51 Head Start children, 10 to 12 are children of university staff, 6 to 8 are children of parents not directly affiliated with the university, and the rest are children of university students.
10 Prior to that time, the program only operated Head Start training projects.
11 The program also is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
12 Care for school-age children has been offered for seven years, and care for infants and toddlers has been offered since CCDBG funds became available two years ago.
13 who are supplemented by two non-Head Start preschool teachers
14 Head Start parents from the grantee agency in Bowling Green elect two representatives to this body, and Head Start parents from each delegate agency elect one representative. In addition, the program selects three community representatives.
15 DSI administers Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) child care funds, and DSS administers funds from the Social Services Block Grant (Title XX), Transitional Child Care (Title IV-A), At-Risk Child Care (Title IV-A), and CCDBG Federal programs.
16 Salary cost allocations are budgeted a year in advance, but are modified to reflect actual time allocations reflected on staff time sheets.
17 On the other hand, if their rent was not free, they would have to "collect" rent costs on a prorated basis from each Federal funding source that supports the program's children. This would become a problem, the director said, because no program, except Head Start, would provide rent reimbursement adequate to cover actual rent costs. Therefore, the program would be forced to cut costs in other areas, such as classroom materials or equipment.
18 Since that time, DSS has reimbursed on the basis of enrollment. However, because of abuses by both parents and child-care providers, DSS officials told us that, beginning next month, they will only reimburse programs for five absences per child a month, unless a written and reasonable explanation for more absences is provided by the programs on a case-by-case basis.
19 The director noted that the Head Start directors in the state advocated that the Virginia Council set aside a portion of CCDBG funds each year for the specific use of Head Start programs.
20 The NRCA community action agency received a small grant this year of $12,000 from the state Department of Social Services (DSS) to purchase child care services for the older siblings of Head Start children, but funds were expended during the summer, and the grant has not been renewed.
21 All of the children who receive full-day services participate in the Head Start center-based program option.
22 $93,089 will be used to purchase afternoon child care during the regular Head Start season (September through May), and $27,840 will be used to purchase full-time child care during the summer months when the Head Start program is closed.
23 Locally designed program options
24 Dinuba, Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake
25 The programs close for two weeks at Christmas and two weeks in July.
26 The program has applied for Head Start expansion funds to serve 76 more children for the full day, beginning in July of 1995.
27 Tulare County ranks 6th out of 58 counties in California in the number of children living in extreme poverty. It ranks 2nd out of 58 counties in the number of teenage pregnancies.
28 Sixty of these children are funded by migrant Head Start, 320 receive full-day Head Start funding, 150 receive full-day GCC state funding, and 151 receive full-day funding that is partially provided by Head Start and partially provided by GCC.
29 This depends upon which source funds their program participation. As described later in this study, GCC income guidelines are more lenient than those of Head Start.
30 The program tries to support each teacher with at least two teacher's aides.
3131 For instance, the North Visalia center follows Title 22 from 5:00 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., and from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Title 5 is followed from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
32 The mandated Head Start staff/child ratios for classrooms with both three- and four-year-olds is actually 1:17.
33 Again, these policy council representatives do not necessarily have to be funded by Head Start.
34 This includes all services provided directly by the program. (The contract services department is funded by the Federal sources mentioned earlier.)
35 For instance, if, before a 4 percent Head Start pay raise, Head Start hypothetically funded 60 children, while GCC and SPS each funded 20 children, after the raise, the Tulare program would claim that Head Start funds 64 of the 100 total children, while GCC and SPS each fund only 17 children.
36 Based on the experience of its full-day subcontractors, Puget Sound estimates that the cost of full-day center-based care is about $10,000 per year per child. About $8,000 is paid by Head Start, and about $2,000 by state child care subsidies. The average annual cost per child across all of the programs (part- day and full-day) is about $5,200, which is nearly the same as the full-day cost for family child care. (The Head Start Director notes that child care costs in Washington tend to be higher than the national average.)