Head Start Policy and Regulations

1302.46 Family support services for health, nutrition, and mental health.

(a) Parent collaboration. Programs must collaborate with parents to promote children’s health and well-being by providing medical, oral, nutrition and mental health education support services that are understandable to individuals, including individuals with low health literacy.

(b) Opportunities. (1) Such collaboration must include opportunities for parents to:

(i) Learn about preventive medical and oral health care, emergency first aid, environmental hazards, and health and safety practices for the home including health and developmental consequences of tobacco products use and exposure to lead, and safe sleep;

(ii) Discuss their child’s nutritional status with staff, including the importance of physical activity, healthy eating, and the negative health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, and how to select and prepare nutritious foods that meet the family’s nutrition and food budget needs;

(iii) Learn about healthy pregnancy and postpartum care, as appropriate, including breastfeeding support and treatment options for parental mental health or substance use problems, including perinatal depression;

(iv) Discuss with staff and identify issues related to child mental health and social and emotional well-being, including observations and any concerns about their child’s mental health, typical and atypical behavior and development, and how to appropriately respond to their child and promote their child’s social and emotional development; and,

(v) Learn about appropriate vehicle and pedestrian safety for keeping children safe.

(2) A program must provide ongoing support to assist parents’ navigation through health systems to meet the general health and specifically identified needs of their children and must assist parents:

(i) In understanding how to access health insurance for themselves and their families, including information about private and public health insurance and designated enrollment periods;

(ii) In understanding the results of diagnostic and treatment procedures as well as plans for ongoing care; and,

(iii) In familiarizing their children with services they will receive while enrolled in the program and to enroll and participate in a system of ongoing family health care.