5 Elements of the Home-Based Option


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The Head Start Program Performance Standards state that the home-based option includes the following:

  • One home visit per week per family lasting for a minimum of 90 minutes each.

  • The federal regulations in 45 CFR 1306.33 specifying minimums of 32 home visits and 16 socialization experiences per year are based on a part-year Head Start preschool program. Because Early Head Start is a 12-month program, the yearly number of home visits and socializations would increase accordingly to 48 home visits and 24 socialization experiences (Child Development Services During Home Visits and Socializations in the Early Head Start Home-Based Program Option, ACYF-IM-HS-00-22).

  • Rescheduling planned home visits or scheduled group socialization experiences that were canceled by the grantee or by program staff. Medical or social service appointments may not replace home visits or scheduled group socialization experiences.

  • Time for staff to participate in training, to maintain records, and to keep child development and comprehensive services plans current and relevant.

  • An average caseload of 10 to 12 families per home visitor, with a maximum of 12 families for any individual home visitor.

  • Trained home visitors, with the content of the visit jointly planned by the home visitor and the parents. Home visitors must conduct the home visit with the participation of parents. Home visits may not be conducted by the home visitor with only babysitters or other temporary caregivers in attendance.

  • Helping parents improve their parenting skills and to assist them in the use of the home as the child’s primary learning environment. The home visitor must work with parents to help them provide learning opportunities that enhance their child’s growth and development.

  • Containing elements of all Head Start program comprehensive services over the course of a month. The home visitor is the person responsible for introducing, arranging, and/or providing Head Start services.

  • Group socialization experiences must be focused on both the children and parents. They may not be conducted with babysitters or other temporary caregivers.

  • The purpose of the socialization experiences for infants and toddlers is to support child development by strengthening the parent–child relationship. The content includes helping parents to better understand child development, encouraging parents to share with one another. The purpose of the socialization experiences in Head Start has more emphasis on parents observing and children participating in peer experiences.

  • Socializations are twice monthly experiences for children and parents. It provides opportunities for children to engage with other children while being supported by their parents and the home visitor. Families have the time to be together to learn from each other and engage socially with other parents.

  • Following the nutrition requirements specified in 45 CFR 1304.23(b)(2) and providing appropriate snacks and meals to the children during group socialization experiences.

[57 FR 58092, Dec. 8, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 57227, Nov. 5, 1996]