If you are going to provide a new service (infants, toddlers, school age), visit a Head Start program in your State that is providing these services and discuss with staff the challenges involved.
If you have both Head Start and child care, try not to make a distinction between them in terms of services. The distinction between Head Start and child care should be apparent only on a fiscal and record-keeping level. The following is a list of issues that must be considered prior to establishing a Head Start–child care partnership.
- In the assessment of family needs, include questions about need for child care beyond Head Start (include need for infant/toddler care, future needs when child leaves Head Start, school-age child care needs).
- Have information about subsidized child care available for parents (including eligibility, procedures for applying).
- Include information in your community resource guide about child care providers and the process for applying for subsidized child care.
- Provide information to parents about how to select a quality child care provider.
- Have information available on licensed care vs. unlicensed care, center-based vs. family child care.
For parents who are interested, have information/ training about becoming a family child care provider.
Make sure all your Head Start centers are accurately listed with your child care resource and referral agency.
Identify the Child Care Development Funds (CCDF) provider for your county. Meet with the director to discuss what the procedure would be to become a CCDF child care provider.
Review your family needs assessments and community needs assessments to determine if the Head Start families you serve are in need of child care beyond what you provide. (When? Where? How many? What ages?)
Develop a plan to address how the provision of full-day, full-year child care will affect staffing patterns, facility use agreements, transportation, staff training activities, parent involvement activities, center licensing, and fiscal procedures.
Determine what type of child care you could/would provide, such as:
- Expanding Head Start hours and days (with CCDF) to accommodate working parents
- Expanding services to include infants and toddlers (with CCDF monies)
- Providing "for pay" non-Head Start services for the additional hours/days working
- Providing school-age child care, before- and after school care, and summer school
- Including opportunities in your program for welfare reform work participants who
need child care while working in your program
Janet Buckley, Region IVB, T/TAS
Western Kentucky University