Frequently Asked Questions: Funding to Increase Duration

Review frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the eligibility, application process, and timeline for the available funding to increase the duration of program services. Define terms and find information about start-up funds.

Initial FAQs were gathered from ACF-PI-HS-16-02 Supplemental Funds Available to Extend Duration of Services in Head Start and Early Head Start. Additional FAQs have come from questions submitted by grantees and Regional Offices, during and following the OHS webinar on the duration supplement. More may be posted as they are received via Regional Office representatives’ discussions with their grantees.

 

New Duration FAQs

Is it too late to apply for EHS duration if we only applied for Head Start duration by the original deadline?

Yes, it is too late. Grantees may not submit new or additional applications as part of their revisions.

Is Policy Council approval needed in order to re-submit the duration application?

Applications for duration funds may be resubmitted without Policy Council approval but Policy Council approval must be provided before the grant award is made.

Can we request "new" start-up—i.e., start-up not requested in the original application—as part of the resubmission?

Yes. Grantees may request start-up in their revised applications even if it was not included in the original application. Grantees should discuss start-up requests with their program specialists prior to the revised submission, to help ensure requests are reasonable, appropriate, and necessary in relation to the expanded duration of services.

Should grantees who requested and received a Notice of Award for slot conversions or enrollment reductions after they submitted their initial duration application resubmit their applications reflecting current funded enrollment numbers?

Yes, the grantees need to start with a current, accurate program schedule. Duration applications should reflect current funded enrollment numbers.

We are reading "commensurate reductions in the start-up request" to not necessarily reflect a 33 percent reduction in the start-up amount, but the estimated amount of startup necessary to provide the duration level of operations.

That is correct. Startup should be adjusted as necessary to reflect the revised duration request. The percentage adjustment will not necessarily equal 33 percent of the original start-up request.

Can a grantee who requested slightly over $300,000 reduce their request to $300,000 rather than taking the 33 percent cut?

No. We do not have sufficient funding to reduce to "no less than" $300,000. Grantees requesting over $300,000 are subject to the 33 percent cut.

Is there a limit or a ceiling for start-up costs?

There is no specific limit or ceiling for start-up requests. The request will be evaluated as to whether it is reasonable, necessary, and allocable to the duration request.

Under the program schedule tab, should only the class schedules, hours/day, and children who will be affected by duration be included, or should we include the different class schedules for the entire program?

Grantees should list the entire program schedule, including the changes due to duration, to reflect the new post-duration program design. The comparison reports at the top of the page show what changed.

Application Process

I made a mistake on my application; can I start over with a new application in the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES)?

No, the system will not allow you to start a new application. You will need to correct your mistake in your original application. Contact the HSES Help Desk at help@hsesinfo.org if you experience system problems.

Does the Policy Council or governing body need to approve of this funding application?

Yes. Grantees must comply with all standard procedures for funding applications.

Should the application describe how the grantee will meet non-federal share requirements or provide a rationale for applying for a waiver of non-federal share?

Yes. Grantees must comply with all standard procedures for funding applications.

Will the PowerPoint slides/webinar presentation be available?

Yes. The slides and the recording are available on the Instructions tab in the Head Start Enterprise System (HSES).

Definitions

What counts toward "hours of planned class operations?"

Hours of planned class operations are hours when children are scheduled to attend. Professional development, trainings, orientations, teacher planning, data analysis, parent-teacher conferences, home visits, classroom sanitation, and transportation do not count toward the hours of planned class operations.

What is considered a "full school day and full school year schedule" in Head Start?

A full school day and full school year schedule is 1,020 annual hours of planned class operations over the course of a minimum of eight months per year.

What is considered "continuous services" for Early Head Start (EHS)?

Continuous services for EHS programs are 1,380 annual hours of planned class operations.

Dr. Enriquez used the language “full school day/full school year.” The PI says “1,020 hours,” which is much more flexible than matching district school day and school year. Can someone address how committed OHS is to supporting different approaches to meeting the 1,020 hours which are responsive to the needs of individual communities? Thank you.

The definition of “full school day, full school year” for Head Start (1,020 annual hours) and continuous services for Early Head Start (1,380 annual hours) are intentionally framed as total annual hours in order to provide maximum flexibility to grantees to design services to best meet the needs of their community.

Eligibility

Why are family child care programs eligible to apply for 1,380 annual hours while Head Start center-based programs are eligible to apply for 1,020 annual hours?

We have set the number of annual hours that family child care providers may apply for at 1,380 to ensure family child care programs are able to serve mixed age groups and better meet the needs of working families.

If our grant is in DRS status, can we request supplemental funding through this application process?

Yes. If you are an incumbent grantee and your competitive application was submitted prior to the release of the PI, and if based on the program options in your application you would be eligible for duration funds, then you will be eligible for the funds if your application is selected. You can apply for duration funds based on the application you submitted and, where service areas may be split, based on the negotiated application.

If you have been identified to compete for your grant in an upcoming DRS cohort but have not yet submitted a competitive or extension application, and you are eligible for duration funds based on your current program options, you can apply for duration funds now based on your current program options and eligibility.

Can I use these funds to increase home visits in my home-based program? Can the funds be used to increase services to pregnant women?

No. Due to limited resources, these funds are only available to increase the duration of center-based and family child care services in Head Start and Early Head Start.

Can I use these funds to convert slots from home-based to center-based services?

No. Due to limited resources, these funds are available to increase the duration of center-based and family child care services and cannot be used to convert home-based slots to center-based slots. However, programs operating combination or locally-designed program options that already provide some center-based services may apply to convert if they propose to increase the center-based services they already provide. Programs can apply to change the scope of their program to better meet the needs of families in their community at any time.

Since my grant application, I have had an enrollment reduction or conversion approved by the Regional Office. What should I do if my program schedule data does not reflect this conversion?

The Office of Head Start maintains separate records regarding recent conversions and enrollment reductions. Please contact your program specialist to ensure your data is up to date.

My program recently reduced enrollment to change the program option from part day to full day; are we eligible to apply for funds?

All grantees are eligible to apply for funds if they meet the eligibility criteria described in the Program Instruction. Grantees that have recently reduced enrollment to increase duration are eligible if their current program schedules provide 1,020 annual hours to less than 40 percent of their funded enrollment for Head Start or 1,380 annual hours to less than 100 percent of their funded enrollment for Early Head Start.

Can Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership grantees apply?

We expect that the majority of EHS-CC Partnership grantees will not be eligible for these funds because they were approved for a grant to provide more than 1,380 annual hours annually. However, if a grantee was approved to provide services for less than 1,380 annual hours, they would be eligible to apply.

Are American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) grantees eligible to apply? Is there a set-aside or separate application process for AIAN grantees?

AIAN grantees are eligible to apply for these funds if they provide 1,020 annual hours to less than 40 percent of their Head Start center-based slots; 1,380 annual hours for less than 100 percent of their Head Start or Early Head Start family child care slots; or 1,380 annual hours to less than 100 percent of their Early Head Start center-based slots. There is no set-aside or separate application process for AIAN grantees.

Are Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) grantees eligible to apply? Is there a set aside or separate application process for MSHS grantees?

MSHS grantees are eligible to apply for these funds if they provide 1,020 annual hours to less than 40 percent of their Head Start center-based slots; 1,380 annual hours for less than 100 percent of their Head Start and/or Early Head Start family child care slots; or 1,380 annual hours to less than 100 percent of their Early Head Start center-based slots. There is no set-aside or separate application process for MSHS grantees. However, MSHS grantees are exempt from the requirement to propose services for at least eight months per year in order to receive funds.

Is the 40 percent ratio for center-based Head Start slots a cap, or do we need to apply to make the full 40 percent meet 1,020 annual hours?

The 40 percent ratio for Head Start is a cap on center-based slots eligible for the duration supplement. It is the maximum amount of funding available to eligible Head Start grantees. Your proposal should be developed up to this amount, and in line with the needs of your community. You may apply to bring less than 40 percent of slots up to 1,020 annual hours; however, for whatever percentage of slots you choose to increase duration, all of those slots should be extended to 1,020 annual hours.

We are a blended program. We currently receive federal Head Start funding only for half days for our Head Start slots, but we operate full day and some Head Start children attend full day supported by other funding. We want to extend hours to working day hours and offer full day to all Head Start families. Are we eligible to apply?

Full-day slots funded through a combination of Head Start federal funds and other funding sources which are reported as full day and are in compliance with the Head Start Program Performance Standards throughout the full day count toward your existing percentage of full-day slots, regardless of the funding source/s. However, if hours supported by funding sources other than your Head Start federal funds are separate from Head Start oversight and compliance with Standards, these slots do not count toward the existing percentage of full-day slots. In such a scenario, you could only apply for funding that is necessary to supplement the "other funds" in order to bring that portion of the day into compliance. The duration funds cannot supplant the existing sources of funding. Please contact your Regional Office to discuss the specifics of your eligibility based on your current services and funding sources.

For grantees operating a delegate agency model, will the 40 percent threshold for center-based Head Start slots be calculated against the entire enrollment or can grantees who exceed the 40 percent in the aggregate apply for delegate agencies that are below the 40 percent?

Forty percent is calculated at the grantee level. Eligibility for the duration supplement for Head Start slots is based on 40 percent of slots across the total center-based funded enrollment.

Can we increase our hours beyond 1,020 hours per year? For instance, can we offer a seven hour day, 180 days per year?

No. Due to limited resources, duration funds for Head Start programs are only available to increase the duration to 1,020 annual hours for up to 40 percent of center-based slots. Funds are not available to increase services beyond that cap.

Are there work/education requirements for families to be enrolled in the slots with newly extended duration?

Programs can determine selection priorities for slots in their various program options. As always, priorities should be identified based on needs of the families and community served. While increasing program duration is primarily intended to enhance outcomes for enrolled children, expanding program service hours also affords additional opportunities for engagement around family self-sufficiency.

Can this funding be used to hire teaching staff to cover the additional hours?

Yes. If extending the duration of service would require a grantee to hire additional staff in order to support the additional services proposed, then the cost of hiring the additional staff in question would be an allowable use of duration funds. The benefit of additional staff must be directly necessary to supporting increased duration.

Funding

Will the duration funds be permanently added to our base funding?

Subject to appropriations, funds awarded would become part of a grantee's base funding in future years.

What happens if the number of requests exceeds the $294 million available?

The eligibility guidelines for the duration supplement were developed based on GABI data regarding current slots and service options, which enabled us to generate reasonable estimates of the need for these funds. We balanced this carefully against the amount of funding available. If fundable requests exceed available funding, we expect grantees will be funded for less than was requested.

Start-up and Timeline

Can I apply for start-up funds?

Yes. Start-up funds can be used for activities such as facility renovations or purchase, purchase of classroom supplies, licensing, and background checks for additional staff.

When will these supplemental funds be tied to the regular grant cycles?

Each grantee will be given an annual amount upon award. However, a portion of those funds could be used for start-up expenses while the remaining is used to support the appropriate months of operation.

When will programs receive award notification? When are programs expected to implement?

Duration funds will be awarded by December 2016. We'd like to get the benefits of longer duration to children and families as soon as possible, but realize it won't always be possible to start right away. We'd expect most programs to be operational with their increased duration by the start of their next program year.

Are start-up costs associated with the duration supplement capped in any way?

Start-up costs are not capped; however, approval of start-up costs is not guaranteed. They are negotiated at the time of award and are based on reasonableness, necessity, and availability of funds.

If you have additional questions, please contact your regional program specialist.

« Return to Apply to Increase Duration page

Last Reviewed: September 2016

Last Updated: September 30, 2016