COVID-19 and the Head Start Community

Engaging Community Partners

Head Start programs can provide families with information on community supports, as adversity can increase during this time. This section is regularly updated with the most relevant guidance and resources. All published resources are listed under Recent Updates.

Assisting families with navigating community supports can greatly contribute to relieving some of their stress and burden. Provide parents and caregivers with any needed resources, such as food or online resources for family health information. When social distancing is encouraged, families who feel unsafe in their home environment may be particularly vulnerable. Provide families with telephone numbers to local domestic violence shelters, child protective services, and community mental health centers that have moved to telehealth appointments.

Communication and Connectivity: Family Supports for Remote Service Delivery
Phones, laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi, and charging capability are critical tools for remote service delivery. Families and children rely on these tools to access Head Start and Early Head Start and other vital health and human services in their communities. To ensure Head Start and Early Head Start families have the access they need, wherever possible, consider these resources.

Partnering with Child Welfare Agencies: An Overview
Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer comprehensive services to families in partnership with community agencies, including local child welfare agencies. Explore this overview to learn more about the importance of working with child welfare agencies for program leaders and staff.

Strategies for Partnering with Child Welfare Agencies
Explore this resource to learn strategies for planning partnerships with child welfare agencies. Find guiding questions and action steps for building effective, engaged, collaborative relationships to strengthen family well-being.

SAMHSA's National Helpline
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information. The service is available in English and Spanish.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress. Find prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Enhancing Community Partnerships: Sample MOU Between Head Start and Domestic Violence Programs
During these stressful times, consider expanding partnerships with domestic violence programs. Use the sample memorandum of understanding (MOU) to guide joint planning as you ensure child and family safety and healing.

Children with Disabilities: Coronavirus Funding and Guidance
Explore updated funding and guidance information for state Part C and Part B Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free Internet Services
In response to COVID-19 developments, some internet providers are offering free services to low-income families and households with students. Social distancing should not mean social isolation for Head Start and Early Head Start families. Help families stay connected virtually.  Assist families with accessing free internet and take advantage of free video platforms so they can stay in touch with family, friends, trusted providers, and, possibly, other Head Start families.

Connect with staff from around the country to exchange ideas and share resources. There are regularly scheduled orientations for new users. Consider joining the PFCE Deepening Practice and Mental Health Consultation communities.