The most critical information program leaders need is found in the law that authorizes Head Start and the regulations and clarifications that explain how to implement the law.
Understanding the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), and associated fiscal management regulations provides you with a foundation to identify and meet the expectations for strong program management.
These resources from the Office of Head Start (OHS) and other organizations may assist program leaders in further implementing the law and regulations. Note: These resources are under review.
The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-134) authorizes Head Start funds at specific levels and outlines how they will be allocated. The Act outlines the intent of Congress for the program; types of services offered; population served; and reporting, evaluation, and administrative requirements.
The Head Start Program Performance Standards (45 CFR 1301–1311) outline the mandatory regulations that grantees and delegate agencies must implement to operate a Head Start or Early Head Start program. The Performance Standards define the objectives and features of a quality program and provide a structure for monitoring and enforcing quality standards.
This crosswalk shows how the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) and Caring for our Children (CFOC) : National Health and Safety Performance Standards connect through various health topics. The HSPPS are requirements for Head Start programs. The CFOC standards are science-informed recommendations for all child care and early education settings. Together they help health managers plan, implement, and monitor services to keep children healthy and safe.
Introduction to the Regulatory Process
This easily understood narrative compiles the federal regulations and policies necessary to operate a Head Start/Early Head Start program including the Head Start Act, Head Start Program Performance Standards, applicable Codes of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars. It is important for Head Start managers and fiscal officers to understand these distinctions. The narrative also outlines the federal rulemaking and regulatory process.
The Office of Head Start issues Program Instructions (PIs) designed to help Head Start programs fulfill various legal requirements. Grantees should review all PIs for the current year. PIs from previous years can also be helpful resources.
The Office of Head Start distributes information relevant to all Head Start programs using Information Memorandums (IMs). IMs provide grantees with recommendations, tools, models, and techniques for program improvement and development. It is recommended that grantees review all IMs for the current year. IMs from previous years can also be helpful resources.
Early Head Start Tip Sheets
These tip sheets provide guidance to Early Head Start programs on a variety of topics related to program implementation. They are not regulatory documents.