Head Start Policy and Regulations

1302.53 Community partnerships and coordination with other early childhood and education programs.

(a) Community partnerships. (1) A program must establish ongoing collaborative relationships and partnerships with community organizations such as establishing joint agreements, procedures, or contracts and arranging for onsite delivery of services as appropriate, to facilitate access to community services that are responsive to children’s and families’ needs and family partnership goals, and community needs and resources, as determined by the community assessment.

(2) A program must establish necessary collaborative relationships and partnerships, with community organizations that may include:

(i) Health care providers, including child and adult mental health professionals, Medicaid managed care networks, dentists, other health professionals, nutritional service providers, providers of prenatal and postnatal support, and substance abuse treatment providers;

(ii) Individuals and agencies that provide services to children with disabilities and their families, elementary schools, state preschool providers, and providers of child care services;

(iii) Family preservation and support services and child protective services and any other agency to which child abuse must be reported under state or tribal law;

(iv) Educational and cultural institutions, such as libraries and museums, for both children and families;

(v) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, nutrition assistance agencies, workforce development and training programs, adult or family literacy, adult education, and post-secondary education institutions, and agencies or financial institutions that provide asset-building education, products and services to enhance family financial stability and savings;

(vi) Housing assistance agencies and providers of support for children and families experiencing homelessness, including the local educational agency liaison designated under section 722(g)(1)(J)(ii) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.);

(vii) Domestic violence prevention and support providers; and,

(viii) Other organizations or businesses that may provide support and resources to families.

(b) Coordination with other programs and systems. A program must take an active role in promoting coordinated systems of comprehensive early childhood services to low-income children and families in their community through communication, cooperation, and the sharing of information among agencies and their community partners, while protecting the privacy of child records in accordance with subpart C of part 1303 of this chapter and applicable federal, state, local, and tribal laws.

(1) Memorandum of understanding. To support coordination between Head Start and publicly funded preschool programs, a program must enter into a memorandum of understanding with the appropriate local entity responsible for managing publicly funded preschool programs in the service area of the program, as described in section 642(e)(5) of the Act.

(2) Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. A program, with the exception of American Indian and Alaska Native programs, must participate in its state or local Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) if:

(i) Its state or local QRIS accepts Head Start monitoring data to document quality indicators included in the state’s tiered system;

(ii) Participation would not impact a program’s ability to comply with the Head Start Program Performance Standards; and,

(iii) The program has not provided the Office of Head Start with a compelling reason not to comply with this requirement.

(3) Data systems. A program, with the exception of American Indian and Alaska Native programs unless they would like to and to the extent practicable, should integrate and share relevant data with state education data systems, to the extent practicable, if the program can receive similar support and benefits as other participating early childhood programs.

(4) American Indian and Alaska Native programs. An American Indian and Alaska Native program should determine whether or not it will participate in the systems described in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this section.