This report is a follow up to the 2005 report regarding Administration for Children and Families (ACF) oversight and monitoring of Head Start grantees. Grantees will find this report useful in determining if progress was made and what additional work is needed to strengthen their performance. Policymakers have raised new concerns about the scope of changes made by ACF and whether the changes are improving the performance of Head Start grantees.
A More Comprehensive Risk Management Strategy and Data Improvements Could Further Strengthen Program Oversight
ACF has not undertaken a comprehensive assessment of risks that may limit Head Start’s ability to meet federal program objectives, despite GAO’s 2005 recommendation, and little progress has been made to ensure that the data from its annual PIR survey of grantees, which could facilitate such an assessment, are reliable. To conduct a comprehensive risk assessment, ACF needs to identify external and internal risks, estimate their significance, and decide how to best manage them. While ACF says it is working to establish two systems to address program-wide risk, our analysis suggests that these systems fall short of that goal. The first system, by which ACF assesses grantees before providing new funds each year, only assesses risk posed to the program by poorly performing grantees and does not allow for a broader assessment of other sources of risk, such as improper payments to contractors. Review the Report [PDF, 628KB]