Health Services Management

The materials in this section are designed to assist health managers and their teams to plan, implement, and evaluate the health systems and services in their Head Start or Early Head Start program. Find regulations and requirements, tools for data collection and assessment, resources to support program planning and evaluation, and strategies for engaging community partners.

New! The quality of health services depends on the knowledge, skills, and experience of program staff and consultants. The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness has developed an optional set of tools—not required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards—to help health services staff strengthen their attitudes, knowledge and skills. Explore the Head Start Health Services Competencies to learn more.

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If you would like help finding resources, please contact us at health at ecetta dot info.

Select a topic below to see available content:

Program Planning

group around a table

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to develop and implement a systematic, ongoing process of program planning. This process includes consultations with the governing body, policy groups, program staff, and other community organizations. It involves identifying short and long-term goals for implementing quality services based on results of the community- and self-assessment. Health managers will find helpful resources to aid in program planning below.

Health Tracking and Recordkeeping

two women with a child

In order to provide quality health services, programs must establish and maintain efficient and confidential tracking and recordkeeping systems. The system should document health care treatment and follow-up, identify common health problems and gaps in services, and create a comprehensive picture of a child's health. Health managers can find resources, tools, and ideas to help strengthen their tracking and recordkeeping systems.

Program Information Report

writing in notebook

The Program Information Report (PIR) offers important descriptive and services data to the Head Start community and its partners, Congress, and the general public. Data is compiled for use at federal, regional, state, and local levels. The PIR must be completed annually by all Head Start and Early Head Start programs. A separate PIR must be completed for each grantee and delegate agency for their respective Head Start and Early Head Start programs.


busines people

Head Start and Early Head Start program staff are required to develop and implement all services in partnership with parents. Good two-way communication among staff and families is important in meeting the needs of children in our care. Confidentiality must be maintained for both written and verbal communication. Review the links below to learn more about communication.

Ongoing Monitoring and Self-Assessment

people in meeting

Two of the key management responsibilities of all Head Start and Early Head Start programs are to conduct a self-assessment of their program effectiveness and progress and to implement a consistent ongoing monitoring system. Ongoing monitoring is a process in which an agency analyzes its services. The self-assessment process provides an opportunity for involving parents and the local community in becoming advocates of quality early childhood services. Explore the resources and tools below to learn more about these management responsibilities.

Human Resources

people in a meeting

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to establish and maintain an organizational structure that adequately supports the program's systems and services. They are required to have key staff assigned to health, nutrition, and mental health services. The information below may provide useful tools and resources for staff and consultants understand their assigned functions.

Health Services Advisory Committee

people raising hands

All Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to establish and maintain a Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC). The HSAC is an advisory group usually composed of local health providers—such as pediatricians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, nutritionists, and mental health providers—who represent a wide variety of local social services agencies. Head Start staff and parents also serve on the HSAC. The HSAC plays an important role in fostering community connections and ensuring that Head Start programs provide comprehensive, integrated, and effective health services to children and their families.

Community Engagement

children playing

In order to successfully provide all of the services needed by their children and families, Head Start and Early Head Start programs partner with a wide variety of state and local agencies. Identifying appropriate partners, building relationships, and developing partnerships are ongoing processes that take coordination among program managers and key stakeholders. Explore the following resources to learn more.

Health Managers Networks

women in a meeting

Health manager networks provide peer-to-peer professional support for new and experienced health managers. They provide opportunities to:

  • Learn from each other
  • Build and share their expertise
  • Strengthen their programs' health services delivery

Looking for a network near you? Contact us at health at ecetta dot info.

A health manager network includes, but is not limited to, a group of three or more managers and staff who work in health, nutrition, mental health, disabilities, and oral health services. The members of this group share a common interest in the work they do and a desire to do it better. They also make a commitment to interacting regularly.

Last Reviewed: February 2017

Last Updated: March 27, 2017