Head Start Act

The Head Start Act of 2007 promotes the school readiness of low-income infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. According to the Act, the purpose of professional development and training funds is to improve knowledge and skills of Head Start staff. The following sections address requirements around funding for professional development and training.

How to Use Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Funds

Both the current Cost Principles and the 2007 Head Start Act shed light on how grantees can use T/TA funds. For more on the requirements outlined in the Head Start Act, review Sec. 648(d) Technical Assistance and Training, and Sec. 637 Definitions, (21) on professional development.

The Cost Principles currently contain minimal guidance on how T/TA funds can be used by Head Start and Early Head Start grantees. The Cost Principles simply state:

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2 CFR §200.472 Training and education costs.

The cost of training and education provided for employee development is allowable.

Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services implementing regulations state:

45 CFR §75.472 Training and education costs.

The cost of training and education provided for employee development is allowable.

In order to better understand the appropriate scope of how to use T/TA funds, it is helpful to review the provisions in the Act:


(d) Funds to Agencies- Funds made available under section 640(a)(2)(C)(i)(II)(aa) shall be used by a Head Start agency to provide high-quality, sustained, and intensive training and technical assistance as follows:

(1) For 1 or more of the following:

(A) Activities that ensure that Head Start programs meet or exceed the standards described in section 641A(a)(1).

(B) Activities that ensure that Head Start programs have adequate numbers of trained, qualified staff who have skills in working with children and families, including children and families who are limited English proficient and children with disabilities and their families.

(C) Activities to improve the management and implementation of Head Start services and systems, including direct training for expert consultants working with staff.

(D) Activities that help ensure that Head Start programs have qualified staff who can promote language skills and literacy growth of children and who can provide children with a variety of skills that have been identified as predictive of later reading achievement, school success, and the skills, knowledge, abilities, development, and progress described in section 641A(a)(1)(B)(ii).

(E) Activities to improve staff qualifications and to assist with the implementation of career development programs and to encourage the staff to continually improve their skills and expertise, including developing partnerships with programs that recruit, train, place, and support college students in Head Start centers to deliver an innovative early learning program to preschool children.

(F) Activities that help local programs ensure that the arrangement, condition, and implementation of the learning environments in Head Start programs are conducive to providing effective program services to children and families.

(G) Activities to provide training necessary to improve the qualifications of Head Start staff and to support staff training, child counseling, health services, and other services necessary to address the needs of children enrolled in Head Start programs, including children from families in crises, children who experience chronic violence or homelessness, children who experience substance abuse in their families, and children under 3 years of age, where applicable.

(H) Activities to provide classes or in-service-type programs to improve or enhance parenting skills, job skills, and adult and family literacy, including financial literacy, or training to become a classroom aide or bus driver in a Head Start program.

(I) Additional activities deemed appropriate to the improvement of Head Start programs, as determined by the technical assistance and training plans of the Head Start agencies.

(2) To support enhanced early language and literacy development of children in Head Start programs, and to provide the children with high-quality oral language skills and with environments that are rich in literature in which to acquire language and early literacy skills. Each Head Start agency, in consultation with the State-based training and technical assistance system, as appropriate, shall ensure that--

(A) all of the agency's Head Start teachers receive ongoing training in language and emergent literacy (referred to in this subsection as literacy training'), including appropriate curricula and assessment to improve instruction and learning;

(B) such literacy training shall include training in methods to promote vocabulary development and phonological awareness (including phonemic awareness) in a developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate manner and support children's development in their native language;

(C) the literacy training shall include training in how to work with parents to enhance positive language and early literacy development at home;

(D) the literacy training shall include specific methods to best address the needs of children who are limited English proficient;

(E) the literacy training shall include training on how to best address the language and literacy needs of children with disabilities, including training on how to work with specialists in language development; and

(F) the literacy training shall be tailored to the early childhood literacy background and experience of the teachers involved;

except that funds made available under section 640(a)(2)(C)(i) shall not be used for long-distance travel expenses for training activities available locally or regionally or for training activities substantially similar to locally or regionally available training activities.

Note: Allowable Uses for Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) Funding provides a brief summary of allowable cost for T/TA funding.

Child Care and Development Funds (CCDF) Reauthorization

On November 19, 2014, President Obama signed the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 into law. This reauthorizes the child care program for the first time since 1996 and represents an historic re-envisioning of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program. The new law requires that all CCDF-funded child care providers receive pre-service and ongoing trainings in health and safety topic areas http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/ccdf-reauthorization

Last Reviewed: November 2016

Last Updated: November 15, 2016