Part 1307 – Policies and Procedures for Designation Renewal of Head Start and Early Head Start Grantees

A new regulation, Part 1307 of the Head Start Program Performance Standards, was released November 9, 2011 in the Federal Register. A PDF version of the final rules with comments [PDF, 224KB] is available, and the full official text of the regulations follows.

PART 1307—POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR DESIGNATION RENEWAL OF HEAD START AND EARLY HEAD START GRANTEES

Authority: 42 U.S.C. 9801 et seq.

§ 1307.1 Purpose and scope.

The purpose of this Part is to set forth policies and procedures for the designation renewal of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. It is intended that these programs be administered effectively and responsibly; that applicants to administer programs receive fair and equitable consideration; and that the legal rights of current Head Start and Early Head Start grantees be fully protected. The Designation Renewal System is established in this Part to determine whether Head Start and Early Head Start agencies deliver high-quality services to meet the educational, health, nutritional, and social needs of the children and families they serve; meet the program and financial requirements and standards described in section 641A(a)(1) of the Head Start Act; and qualify to be designated for funding for five years without competing for such funding as required under section 641(c) of the Head Start Act with respect to Head Start agencies and pursuant to section 645A(b)(12) and (d) with respect to Early Head Start agencies. A competition to select a new Head Start or Early Head Start agency to replace a Head Start or Early Head Start agency that has been terminated voluntarily or involuntarily is not part of the Designation Renewal System established in this Part, and is subject instead to the requirements of part 1302.

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§ 1307.2 Definitions.

As used in this Part—

ACF means the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Act means the Head Start Act, 45 U.S.C. 9831 et seq.

Agency means a public or private non-profit or for-profit entity designated by ACF to operate a Head Start or Early Head Start program.

Aggregate child-level assessment data means the data collected by an agency on the status and progress of the children it serves that have been combined to provide summary information about groups of children enrolled in specific classrooms, centers, home-based or other options, groups or settings, or other groups of children such as dual language learners, or to provide summary information by specific domains of development.

Child-level assessment data means the data collected by an agency on an individual child from one or more valid and reliable assessments of a child's status and progress, including but not limited to direct assessment, structured observations, checklists, staff or parent report measures, and portfolio records or work samples.

Early Head Start agency means a public or private non-profit or for-profit entity designated by ACF to operate an Early Head Start program to serve pregnant women and children from birth to age three, pursuant to section 645A(e) of the Head Start Act.

Going concern means an organization that operates without the threat of liquidation for the foreseeable future, a period of at least 12 months.

Head Start agency means a local public or private non-profit or for-profit entity designated by ACF to operate a Head Start program to serve children age three to compulsory school age, pursuant to section 641(b) and (d) of the Head Start Act.

School readiness goals mean the expectations of children's status and progress across domains of language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge, approaches to learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development that will improve their readiness for kindergarten.

Transition period means the three-year time period after December 9, 2011, on the Designation Renewal System during which ACF will convert all of the current continuous Head Start and Early Head Start grants into five-year grants after reviewing each grantee to determine if it meets any of the conditions under section 1307.3 that require recompetition or if the grantee will receive its first five-year grant non-competitively.

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§ 1307.3 Basis for determining whether a Head Start agency will be subject to an open competition.

A Head Start or Early Head Start agency shall be required to compete for its next five years of funding whenever the responsible HHS official determines that one or more of the following seven conditions existed during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 of this part:

(a) An agency has been determined by the responsible HHS official to have one or more deficiencies on a single review conducted under section 641A(c)(1)(A), (C), or (D) of the Act in the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under section 1307.7.

(b) An agency has been determined by the responsible HHS official based on a review conducted under section 641A(c)(1)(A), (C), or (D) of the Act during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 not to have:

(1) After December 9, 2011, established program goals for improving the school readiness of children participating in its program in accordance with the requirements of section 641A(g)(2) of the Act and demonstrated that such goals:

(i) Appropriately reflect the ages of children, birth to five, participating in the program;

(ii) Align with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, State early learning guidelines, and the requirements and expectations of the schools, to the extent that they apply to the ages of children, birth to five, participating in the program and at a minimum address the domains of language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development;

(iii) Were established in consultation with the parents of children participating in the program.

(2) After December 9, 2011, taken steps to achieve the school readiness goals described under paragraph (b)(1) of this section demonstrated by:

(i) Aggregating and analyzing aggregate child-level assessment data at least three times per year (except for programs operating less than 90 days, which will be required to do so at least twice within their operating program period) and using that data in combination with other program data to determine grantees' progress toward meeting its goals, to inform parents and the community of results, and to direct continuous improvement related to curriculum, instruction, professional development, program design and other program decisions; and

(ii) Analyzing individual ongoing, child-level assessment data for all children birth to age five participating in the program and using that data in combination with input from parents and families to determine each child's status and progress with regard to, at a minimum, language and literacy development, cognition and general knowledge, approaches toward learning, physical well-being and motor development, and social and emotional development and to individualize the experiences, instructional strategies, and services to best support each child.

(c) An agency has been determined during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7:

(1) After December 9, 2011, to have an average score across all classrooms observed below the following minimum thresholds on any of the three CLASS: Pre-K domains from the most recent CLASS: Pre-K observation:

(i) For the Emotional Support domain the minimum threshold is 4;

(ii) For the Classroom Organization domain, the minimum threshold is 3;

(iii) For the Instructional Support domain, the minimum threshold is 2;

(2) After December 9, 2011, to have an average score across all classrooms observed that is in the lowest 10 percent on any of the three CLASS: Pre-K domains from the most recent CLASS: Pre-K observation among those currently being reviewed unless the average score across all classrooms observed for that CLASS: Pre-K domain is equal to or above the standard of excellence that demonstrates that the classroom interactions are above an exceptional level of quality. For all three domains, the “standard of excellence” is a 6.

(d) An agency has had a revocation of its license to operate a Head Start or Early Head Start center or program by a State or local licensing agency during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 of this part, and the revocation has not been overturned or withdrawn before a competition for funding for the next five-year period is announced. A pending challenge to the license revocation or restoration of the license after correction of the violation shall not affect application of this requirement after the competition for funding for the next five-year period has been announced.

(e) An agency has been suspended from the Head Start or Early Head Start program by ACF during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 of this part and the suspension has not been overturned or withdrawn. If there is a pending appeal and the agency did not have an opportunity to show cause as to why the suspension should not have been imposed or why the suspension should have been lifted if it had already been imposed under 45 CFR part 1303, the agency will not be required to compete based on this condition. If an agency has received an opportunity to show cause, the condition will be implemented regardless of appeal status.

(f) An agency has been debarred from receiving Federal or State funds from any Federal or State department or agency or has been disqualified from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) any time during the relevant time period covered by the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 of this part but has not yet been terminated or denied refunding by ACF. (A debarred agency will only be eligible to compete for Head Start funding if it receives a waiver described in 2 CFR 180.135.)

(g) An agency has been determined within the twelve months preceding the responsible HHS official's review under § 1307.7 of this part to be at risk of failing to continue functioning as a going concern. The final determination is made by the responsible HHS official based on a review of the findings and opinions of an audit conducted in accordance with section 647 of the Act; an audit, review or investigation by a State agency; a review by the National External Audit Review (NEAR) Center; or an audit, investigation or inspection by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General:

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§ 1307.4 Grantee reporting requirements concerning certain conditions.

(a) Head Start agencies must report in writing to the responsible HHS official within 30 working days of December 9, 2011, if the agency has had a revocation of a license to operate a center by a State of local licensing entity during the period between June 12, 2009, and December 9, 2011.

(b) Head Start agencies must report in writing to the responsible HHS official within 10 working days of occurrence any of the following events following December 9, 2011:

(1) The agency has had a revocation of a license to operate a center by a State or local licensing entity.

(2) The agency has filed for bankruptcy or agreed to a reorganization plan as part of a bankruptcy settlement.

(3) The agency has been debarred from receiving Federal or State funds from any Federal or State department or agency or has been disqualified from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

(4) The agency has received an audit, audit review, investigation or inspection report from the agency's auditor, a State agency, or the cognizant Federal audit agency containing a determination that the agency is at risk for ceasing to be a going concern.

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§ 1307.5 Requirements to be considered for designation for a five-year period when the existing grantee in a community is not determined to be delivering a high-quality and comprehensive Head Start program and is not automatically renewed.

In order to compete for the opportunity to be awarded a five-year grant, an agency must submit an application to the responsible HHS official that demonstrates that it is the most qualified entity to deliver a high-quality and comprehensive Head Start or Early Head Start program. The application must address the criteria for selection listed at section 641(d)(2) of the Act for Head Start. Any agency that has had its Head Start or Early Head Start grant terminated for cause in the preceding five years is excluded from competing in such competition for the next five years. A Head Start or Early Head Start agency that has had a denial of refunding, as defined in 45 CFR 1303.2, in the preceding five years is also excluded from competing.

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§ 1307.6 Tribal government consultation under the Designation Renewal System for when an Indian Head Start grant is being considered for competition.

(a) In the case of an Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency determined not to be delivering a high-quality and comprehensive Head Start or Early Head Start program, the responsible HHS official will engage in government-to-government consultation with the appropriate Tribal government or governments for the purpose of establishing a plan to improve the quality of the Head Start program or Early Head Start program operated by the Indian Head Start or Indian Early Head Start agency.

(1) The plan will be established and implemented within six months after the responsible HHS official's determination.

(2) Not more than six months after the implementation of that plan, the responsible HHS official will reevaluate the performance of the Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency.

(3) If the Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency is still not delivering a high quality and comprehensive Head Start or Early Head Start program, the responsible HHS official will conduct an open competition to select a grantee to provide services for the community currently being served by the Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency.

(b) A non-Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency will not be eligible to receive a grant to carry out an Indian Head Start program, unless there is no Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency available for designation to carry out an Indian Head Start or Indian Early Head Start program.

(c) A non-Indian Head Start or Early Head Start agency may receive a grant to carry out an Indian Head Start program only until such time as an Indian Head Start or Indian Early Head Start agency in such community becomes available and is designated pursuant to this Part.

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§ 1307.7 Designation request, review and notification process.

(a) Grantees must apply to be considered for Designation Renewal

(1) For the transition period, each Head Start or Early Head Start agency wishing to be considered to have their designation as a Head Start or Early Head Start agency renewed for a five year period without competition shall request that status from ACF within six months of December 9, 2011.

(2) After the transition period, each Head Start or Early Head Start agency wishing to be considered to have their designation as a Head Start or Early Head Start agency renewed for another five year period without competition shall request that status from ACF at least 12 months before the end of their five year grant period or by such time as required by the Secretary.

(b) ACF will review the relevant data to determine if one or more of the conditions under § 1307.3 of this part were met by the Head Start and Early Head Start agency's program:

(1) During the first year of the transition period, ACF shall review the data on each Head Start and Early Head Start agency to determine if any of the conditions under § 1307.3(a) or (d) through (g) of this part were met by the agency's program since June 12, 2009.

(2) During the remainder of the transition period, ACF shall review the data on each Head Start and Early Head Start agency still under grants with indefinite project periods and for whom ACF has relevant data on all of the conditions in § 1307.3(a) through (g) of this part to determine if any of the conditions under § 1307.3(a) or (d) through (g) were met by the agency's program since June 12, 2009, or if the conditions under § 1307.3(b) or (c) existed in the agency's program since December 9, 2011.

(3) Following the transition period, ACF shall review the data on each Head Start and Early Head Start agency in the fourth year of the grant to determine if any of the conditions under § 1307.3 of this partexisted in the agency's program during the period of that grant.

(c) ACF will give notice to grantees on Designation Renewal System status, except as provided in § 1307.6 of this part:

(1) During the first year of the transition period, ACF shall give written notice to all grantees meeting any of the conditions under § 1307.3(a) or (d) through (g) of this part since June 12, 2009, by certified mail return receipt requested or other system that establishes the date of receipt of the notice by the addressee, stating that the Head Start or Early Head Start agency will be required to compete for funding for an additional five-year period, identifying the conditions ACF found, and summarizing the basis for the finding. All grantees that do not meet any of the conditions under § 1307.3(a) or (d) thorugh (g) will remain under indefinite project periods until the time period described under § 1307.7(b)(2).

(2) During the remainder of the transition period, ACF shall give written notice to all grantees still under grants with indefinite project periods and on the conditions in § 1307.3(a) through (g) by certified mail return receipt requested or other system that establishes the date of receipt of the notice by the addressee stating either:

(i) The Head Start or Early Head Start agency will be required to compete for funding for an additional five-year period because ACF finds that one or more conditions under § 1307.3(a) through (g) has been met during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section, identifying the conditions ACF found, and summarizing the basis for the finding; or

(ii) That such agency has been determined on a preliminary basis to be eligible for renewed funding for five years without competition because ACF finds that none of the conditions under § 1307.3 of this part have been met during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section. If prior to the award of that grant, ACF determines that the grantee has met one of the conditions under § 1307.3 during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section, this determination will change and the grantee will receive notice under paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section that it will be required to compete for funding for an additional five-year period.

(3) Following the transition period, ACF shall give written notice to all grantees at least 12 months before the expiration date of a Head Start or Early Head Start agency's then current grant by certified mail return receipt requested or other system that establishes the date of receipt of the notice by the addressee, stating:

(i) The Head Start or Early Head Start agency will be required to compete for funding for an additional five-year period because ACF finds that one or more conditions under § 1307.3 of this part were met by the agency's program during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section, identifying the conditions ACF found, and summarizing the basis for the finding; or

(ii) That such agency has been determined on a preliminary basis to be eligible for renewed funding for five years without competition because ACF finds that none of the conditions under § 1307.3 have been met during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section. If prior to the award of that grant, ACF determines that the grantee has met one of the conditions under § 1307.3 during the relevant time period described in paragraph (b) of this section, this determination will change and the grantee will receive notice under paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section that it will be required to compete for funding for an additional five-year period.

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§ 1307.8 Use of CLASS: Pre-K Instrument in the Designation Renewal System.

Except when all children are served in a single classroom, ACF will conduct observations of multiple classes operated by the grantee based on a random sample of all classes and rate the conduct of the classes observed using the CLASS: Pre-K instrument. When the grantee serves children in its program in a single class, that class will be observed and rated using the CLASS: Pre-K instrument. The domain scores for that class will be the domain scores for the grantee for that observation. After the observations are completed, ACF will report to the grantee the scores of the classes observed during the CLASS: Pre-K observations in each of the domains covered by the CLASS: Pre-K instrument. ACF will average CLASS: Pre-K instrument scores in each domain for the classes operated by the agency that ACF observed to determine the agency's score in each domain.

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Part 1307. Policies and Procedures for Designation Renewal of Head Start and Early Head Start Grantees. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2011. English.

This is a Historical Document.