Five Year Grant Periods 

The Office of Head Start (OHS) is moving from indefinite project periods to definite project periods of five years (60 months) for all Head Start grantees as part of the Designation Renewal System (DRS). The DRS ensures that organizations of the highest quality continue to provide Head Start services and opens the service areas of others to competition. This renewed commitment to quality provides an opportunity to implement changes in OHS funding practices and oversight of Head Start programs.

Five Year Head Start Project Periods (ACF-IM-HS-13-02) - REVISED

Information Memorandum (IM) ACF-IM-HS-13-02 discusses the key elements of five year project periods for all Head Start grantees and how they will strengthen quality services in the program.

Resources for the Conditions for all Five Year Grants

In keeping with the renewed commitment to quality, all Head Start grants have new terms and conditions attached to the Notice of Award (NoA) in the areas of Health and Safety, Governance, School Readiness, and Audit Training.

Grantees who receive a five year project period are asked to refer to their NoA, Attachment 2, for their unique requirements. Each grantee is required to complete these activities. Where required, the results must be submitted to the Regional Office within the identified time frames. Regional Office staff will discuss and validate these conditions and certifications with the grantee.

Foundations for Excellence: Planning in Head Start

The Head Start National Centers developed this series of papers to support programs in developing and implementing their planning systems.

Health and Safety Screener

The Office of Head Start (OHS) Health and Safety Screener can help organizations identify where they need to make changes and build capacity to ensure children are healthy and safe in their care. Head Start grantees must conduct a screening of the health and safety environment of each center and/or family child care home where services are provided within 45 days of the start of the program or school year, or within 45 calendar days of the start of the five year project period when the five year project period begins during the program or school year.

Certification of Health and Safety Screening

This form may be used to fulfill the OHS requirement that the grantee governing body submit a signed certification of compliance with all applicable health and safety requirements within 75 calendar days of the start of the program or school year, or within 75 calendar days of the start of the five year project period when the five year project period begins during the program or school year. The form must be submitted to OHS in the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES) immediately thereafter.

Governance, Leadership, and Oversight Capacity Screener

This OHS screener reflects the Head Start requirements for program governance to help organizations identify where they need to make changes for quality improvement. It assists programs in building capacity to fulfill Head Start governance responsibilities. The grantee governing body must complete the OHS Governance, Leadership, and Oversight Capacity Screener or another governance and leadership capacity screening within 60 days of the start of the five year project period.

Certification of Governance and Leadership Capacity Screening

This OHS form may be used to fulfill the requirement that the grantee governing body submit a signed certification that the grantee has conducted a governance and leadership capacity screening and, using the results, developed a training plan. The governance and leadership capacity screening certification must be submitted to OHS in HSES within 75 calendar days of the start of the project period.

OHS Approach to School Readiness

Grantees must participate in school readiness progress meetings with OHS. The Head Start Approach to School Readiness encompasses three major frameworks that promote an understanding of school readiness for parents and families, infants and toddlers, and preschoolers. The three frameworks provide the foundation for implementing systemic and integrated comprehensive child development services and family engagement efforts that lead to school readiness for young children and families.

A-133 Audit Training Webcast: Understanding the Importance of Your Annual Audit and How the Audit Process Can Strengthen Your Organization

Grantees must participate in this OHS-sponsored single audit webcast within six months of the start of the project period. Board members, fiscal staff, and other agency leaders will gain a greater understanding of the purpose and importance of the annual audit to their Head Start program’s fiscal health.

Historical - First Year Conditions for ALL Five Year Grant Awards Webinar (July 19)

The conditions for the first year of all Head Start five year grant awards were the focus of this webinar. Grantees learned about upcoming changes in funding practices and oversight of programs.

More Resources on Governance from the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations

More Resources on Health and Safety from the National Center on Health

Five Year Grant Periods. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2013. English.

Last Reviewed: December 2014

Last Updated: December 1, 2014