Explore this list of resources to find links to all the resources mentioned in the Economic Mobility Toolkit for Head Start and Early Head Start. The resources are organized by Key Topic and are listed in the order they appear.
Introduction and Part 1. Building Family Economic Mobility—Program Planning and Professional Development Tool
Partnering with families as they build foundations for economic mobility is a key component of your work, whether you are a Head Start and Early Head Start program director, manager, or direct services staff.
Head Start and Early Head Start program and parent leaders and staff can use the Program Planning and Professional Development Tool for team planning and professional development in line with the Head Start Program Performance Standards. Teams can use this tool to reflect on their program’s current efforts and prioritize opportunities to partner with families. The tool can be used at any time during the five-year program project period to review:
- Program goals and activities with families related to economic mobility
- Opportunities to use existing data about family economic mobility to inform staff training, professional development, and family services
- Common goals that families in your program set for themselves and their children
- Capacity of staff and community partners to support families in reaching their goals
- Areas for additional learning about economic mobility
Part 2. Building Family Economic Mobility—Key Topics
Key Topic 1—Accessing Financial Education, Coaching, and Counseling
Financial education, coaching, or counseling can provide families the opportunity to build on their problem-solving and goal-setting skills. Families can use these skills to make positive changes in their lives to support their children’s development and well-being.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can refer families to financial education, coaching, and counseling services in their community. They can also offer these services directly within the program or through a partnership. To get started, Head Start and Early Head Start programs can:
- Build staff’s capacity and comfort level to talk with families about financial topics
- Learn about families’ financial capability and goals
- Partner with families and staff to select the right kind of financial capability services for your program
- Determine if you should refer families to an outside service, partner to provide the service, or provide the service yourself (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2015)
Key Topic 2—Accessing Safe and Affordable Financial Products
Safe and affordable financial products are important for Head Start and Early Head Start because they are tools that make it possible for families and staff to manage their money.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can assist families as they access safe and affordable financial products in several ways. To get started, Head Start and Early Head Start staff can:
- Learn more about safe and affordable financial products
- Help prepare families to open a checking or savings account
- Encourage families to learn about their banking history using ChexSystems
- Help families access direct deposit when their employment or other income sources offer this option
- Encourage families to save for the future
Key Topic 3—Building Credit and Managing Debt
The ability to build credit and manage debt are vital skills for families. Connecting families with the information, tools, and resources to develop these skills and make decisions can help families avoid challenges from debt. These skills can help families experiencing challenges from debt work toward greater financial stability.
Head Start and Early Head Start staff can help families increase their knowledge about credit and debt—while increasing their own knowledge about building and maintaining credit. To get started, Head Start and Early Head Start programs can:
- Understand families’ financial strengths and goals
- Encourage families to review their credit history
- Connect Head Start and Early Head Start families to financial capability services
- Connect Head Start and Early Head Start families with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
- Connect Head Start and Early Head Start families with reputable credit counseling services
Key Topic 4—Building Wealth: Incentivized Savings and Asset Ownership Programs
Asset building and savings can be the foundation for economic mobility and financial security. Assets can also serve as a resource for families as they work toward other goals for financial well-being.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can start to share information about asset ownership and incentivized savings programs with families, staff, and leadership by:
- Learning more about local asset ownership programs
- Referring parents to local Individual Development Account (IDAs) programs
- Referring parents to safe and affordable financial products
- Partnering with a local financial institution, foundation, or community partner to offer incentivized savings programs to parents in your Head Start and Early Head Start program
Key Topic 5—Accessing Federal and State Benefits
Federal and state benefits programs keep millions of people above the poverty line. These programs assist many who work one or more full-time jobs, and they contribute to healthy child development.
Head Start and Early Head Start staff can take some of the steps listed below to deepen their own knowledge about what federal and state benefits are available. Staff can then use the information to connect families with benefits that can help build the foundations for economic mobility. Taking these steps can also help families increase their own knowledge about public benefits and effectively advocate for the benefits they are entitled to receive. To get started, Head Start and Early Head Start leaders and staff can:
- Understand families' financial situations
- Screen families for public benefits
- Connect families to benefits through community partnerships
- Connect families to free tax preparation services
- Help families access available tax credits
Key Topic 6—Accessing Workforce Development and Job Training Programs
Partnering with Workforce Development Boards and job training programs can help ensure families have timely information about and access to training programs. Head Start and Early Head Start programs also can encourage these partners to consider families’ interests when developing programming.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs can respond to parents’ education and career goals by partnering with workforce agencies, institutions, and programs. Leaders and staff can build relationships with new partners to ensure appropriate referrals to workforce partners. To get started Head Start and Early Head Start programs can:
- Learn more about your local American Job Center
- Meet your Workforce Development Board
- Create a job club or encourage parents to join one
- Learn more about public benefits training and education programs
- Reach out to student support offices at community colleges and other institutions of higher education
Key Topic 7—Identifying Career Pathways
Career pathways take some of the guesswork out of planning for education and employment. Career pathways help to ensure that the time and money invested in education and training lead to meaningful credentials and degrees.
Resources vary from community to community. When looking for ways to connect families to educational opportunities, explore job training options and sources of career information. Since Head Start and Early Head Start staff are familiar with family members’ strengths and skills, they are uniquely positioned to make referrals that are well matched to career-related services. To get started, Head Start and Early Head Start staff can:
- Learn more about education and employment opportunities in your local areas
- Help families explore career interests, and include the whole family
- Learn more about the cliff effect of earning higher wages
- Engage community partners in your program’s work on education and employment
Topic 8—Accessing Apprenticeship Opportunities
Apprenticeship programs offer an opportunity for family members to earn pay while working on a credential or certificate.
Head Start and Early Head Start staff can connect families to education, job training, and career information in several ways, depending on community resources. Staff who are familiar with family members’ strengths and skills are uniquely positioned to make referrals to career-related services. To get started Head Start and Early Head Start staff can:
- Learn more about apprenticeship programs
- Learn more about apprenticeship opportunities in the area
- Share information about apprenticeship programs with families
Last Updated: December 16, 2022