SPOTLIGHT: Children & Families

HS Begins — Head Start began as an eight-week part-day summer program by the Office of Economic Opportunity for 561,000 children more than 57 years ago. Today Head Start (HS), and Early Head Start (EHS) are the nation's premier early childhood programs for children ages birth to five and pregnant women from low-income families. HS/EHS programs—operated by nonprofit organizations (e.g., community action agencies), public agencies (e.g., cities or counties), school districts, tribal governments, migrant organizations, and for-profit entities—have served approximately 37 million children and their families since 1965. Even in the beginning, one of HS's fundamental tenets was that HS communities are not merely "served" but invested in HS's success.

HS Today — Today, HS is a research-based school readiness program designed to meet our nation's most vulnerable children and their families cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs. Early childhood professionals support children's growth in language, literacy, mathematics, science, social and emotional functioning, creative arts, physical skills, and approaches to learning. Comprehensive family services include health and dental, mental health, disabilities, family and parent education, and nutrition.

 

Scope of Services

 

The Head Start Customer Services Improvement and Management (CSIP) projects seek to provide the Office of Head Start with the resources and support it needs to fulfill its federal duties. They deliver high-caliber, professional, technical, and administrative support for Head Start, Early Head Start, and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership recipients in the region. CSIP Teams perform various functions related to the grant recipient award, oversight, and programmatic administration of discretionary grants funded through OHS. These functions include the analysis and review of grant recipient applications; the review and analysis of recipient program information reports; providing accurate and timely regulatory and policy guidance to Head Start recipients; the analysis of recipient non-federal share and teacher qualification waiver requests; the analysis and awarding of applications related to 1303 requirements; the completion of various activities related to the identification and mitigation of recipient risk factors, and the correction of regulatory compliance issues by conducting follow-up reviews and submitting necessary referrals as appropriate to regional Technical Assistance and Training contracts.

 

Results

 

Over the past five years, BCT has provided professional administrative and technical services to the Head Start Customer Services Improvement Project (CSIP) across 5 out of the 12 HHS Regions in this country. Our Teams enhance OHS's ability to effectively provide data analysis, information management, and program/fiscal support to Head Start recipients and sub-recipients. As partners with OHS, we invest significant resources in ensuring that our OHS-dedicated grants management, customer service, and program staff members are skilled and knowledgeable in relevant areas so OHS can meet their goals and priorities. In the end, Head Start is not just something BCT does; the program's root is the root of who we are and what we do across all the work we pursue and the populations we seek to serve.

The work BCT staff does in our Head Start contracts provides support and services to 282,779 children and families in 28 states across our nation. The numbers are as follows: approximately 229K in HS and 54K in EHS. In FY21, BCT staff processed $3,466,388 in federal funding across 663 grant recipients. Annual federal funding nationally is $9,658,096 for a funded enrollment of 873,019 — BCT supports 32% of the nationally funded enrollment of our most vulnerable populations.

Additional Outcomes:

BCT brings institutional knowledge of the HHS Federal grant process from pre-award to close-out. Having served in six Head Start Regions, we are familiar with HHS/ACF policies and procedures that govern grant award and administration, including requirements for records retention.

We are knowledgeable in using existing electronic data management systems, including but not limited to the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES) and the GrantSolutions web-based application. In addition, we are experienced in using and completing the HSES Application Analysis Tool (AAT) and reviewing other recipient performance and data reports. These reports include program and budget narratives, community and self-assessment reports, Training and Technical Assistance Plans, etc. We also ensure grant applications conform to all applicable HHS and ACF policies, procedures, and regulations. When we identify an area requiring revision in the grant application on behalf of the RO, we contact the applicant requesting missing materials and make appropriate corrections.