Overview of the Family Services Role in Head Start Programs

On-the-Job Roles and Responsibilities

Depending upon your program design, you may perform some tasks in the following three areas every day:

  • Outreach and recruitment
  • Enrollment and the family partnership process
  • Goal-setting with families

A woman with a laptop is helping another woman who appears to be looking for something.Depending on your program, your tasks may be broad or have a specific focus. For example, if you speak several languages and are a community member, you may be responsible for reaching out to new families whose home language is not English and who could be eligible for Head Start programs. No matter your responsibilities, carefully review your job description and make sure you understand what each task in that description entails.

If you are not clear on how you would do each task, talk with your supervisor about it. If your tasks change, work with your manager to update your job description. Consider the following general recommendations as you learn your role as a family services professional:

Review the basics.

Understand your program.

  • Talk to your manager and program leadership about your program’s policies and procedures that affect your work and service delivery.
  • Make sure you understand how your program works to address the specific needs of the children and families in your community.
  • Ask questions. Talk with other family services professionals in your program and in your community.
  • Learn about your program’s strategic goals and expected outcomes.

Use reflective practices.

  • Reflect on the responsibilities you implement well and the ones you find challenging.
  • Review your individualized professional development (PD) plan, program PD offerings, conferences, and other PD options.
  • Consider ways to expand your knowledge and skills and strengthen your professional practices through PD and training.
  • Connect with others through national learning events and sessions offered by the Office of Head Start (OHS) and their professional organizations.