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1302.91 Staff qualifications and competency requirements.

(a) Purpose. A program must ensure all staff, consultants, and contractors engaged in the delivery of program services have sufficient knowledge, training and experience, and competencies to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of their positions and to ensure high-quality service delivery in accordance with the program performance standards. A program must provide ongoing training and professional development to support staff in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.

(b) Early Head Start or Head Start director. A program must ensure an Early Head Start or Head Start director hired after November 7, 2016, has, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree and experience in supervision of staff, fiscal management, and administration.

(c) Fiscal officer. A program must assess staffing needs in consideration of the fiscal complexity of the organization and applicable financial management requirements and secure the regularly scheduled or ongoing services of a fiscal officer with sufficient education and experience to meet their needs. A program must ensure a fiscal officer hired after November 7, 2016 is a certified public accountant or has, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree in accounting, business, fiscal management, or a related field.

(d) Child and family services management staff qualification requirements. (1) Family, health, and disabilities management. A program must ensure staff responsible for management and oversight of family services, health services, and services to children with disabilities hired after November 7, 2016, have, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree, preferably related to one or more of the disciplines they oversee.

(2) Education management. As prescribed in section 648A(a)(2)(B)(i) of the Act, a program must ensure staff and consultants that serve as education managers or coordinators, including those that serve as curriculum specialists, have a baccalaureate or advanced degree in early childhood education or a baccalaureate or advanced degree and equivalent coursework in early childhood education with early education teaching experience.

(e) Child and family services staff. (1) Early Head Start center-based teacher qualification requirements. As prescribed in section 645A(h) of the Act, a program must ensure center-based teachers that provide direct services to infants and toddlers in Early Head Start centers have a minimum of a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or comparable credential, and have been trained or have equivalent coursework in early childhood development with a focus on infant and toddler development.

(2) Head Start center-based teacher qualification requirements. (i) The Secretary must ensure no less than fifty percent of all Head Start teachers, nationwide, have a baccalaureate degree in child development, early childhood education, or equivalent coursework.

(ii) As prescribed in section 648A(a)(3)(B) of the Act, a program must ensure all center-based teachers have at least an associate's or bachelor's degree in child development or early childhood education, equivalent coursework, or otherwise meet the requirements of section 648A(a)(3)(B) of the Act.

(3) Head Start assistant teacher qualification requirements. As prescribed in section 648A(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act, a program must ensure Head Start assistant teachers, at a minimum, have a CDA credential or a state-awarded certificate that meets or exceeds the requirements for a CDA credential, are enrolled in a program that will lead to an associate or baccalaureate degree or, are enrolled in a CDA credential program to be completed within two years of the time of hire.

(4) Family child care provider qualification requirements. (i) A program must ensure family child care providers have previous early child care experience and, at a minimum, are enrolled in a Family Child Care CDA program or state equivalent, or an associate or baccalaureate degree program in child development or early childhood education prior to beginning service provision, and for the credential acquire it within eighteen months of beginning to provide services.

(ii) By August 1, 2018, a child development specialist, as required for family child care in §1302.23(e), must have, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree in child development, early childhood education, or a related field.

(5) Center-based teachers, assistant teachers, and family child care provider competencies. A program must ensure center-based teachers, assistant teachers, and family child care providers demonstrate competency to provide effective and nurturing teacher-child interactions, plan and implement learning experiences that ensure effective curriculum implementation and use of assessment and promote children’s progress across the standards described in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five and applicable state early learning and development standards, including for children with disabilities and dual language learners, as appropriate.

(6) Home visitors. A program must ensure home visitors providing home-based education services:

(i) Have a minimum of a home-based CDA credential or comparable credential, or equivalent coursework as part of an associate's or bachelor's degree; and,

(ii) Demonstrate competency to plan and implement home-based learning experiences that ensure effective implementation of the home visiting curriculum and promote children’s progress across the standards described in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five, including for children with disabilities and dual language learners, as appropriate, and to build respectful, culturally responsive, and trusting relationships with families.

(7) Family services staff qualification requirements. A program must ensure staff who work directly with families on the family partnership process hired after November 7, 2016, have within eighteen months of hire, at a minimum, a credential or certification in social work, human services, family services, counseling or a related field.

(8) Health professional qualification requirements. (i) A program must ensure health procedures are performed only by a licensed or certified health professional.

(ii) A program must ensure all mental health consultants are licensed or certified mental health professionals. A program must use mental health consultants with knowledge of and experience in serving young children and their families, if available in the community.

(iii) A program must use staff or consultants to support nutrition services who are registered dieticians or nutritionists with appropriate qualifications.

(f) Coaches. A program must ensure coaches providing the services described in 1302.92(c) have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education or a related field.