Head Start Policy and Regulations

Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM): Head Start Service Duration Requirements

An NPRM to remove the requirement for all Head Start programs to serve 100 percent of their preschool center-based children for a full-school day and full school year (1,020 annual hours) by Aug. 1, 2021 was published in the Federal Register on March 26, 2019. The goal of this NPRM is to:

  • Restore to programs the autonomy and flexibility to design program schedules that best meet their community needs
  • Increase transparency for and reduce regulatory burden on programs
  • Prevent a possible large reduction in the number of children served as the result of a federal requirement

Individual programs may still choose to offer full school day and full school year services or more, if that schedule meets their community needs.

The standard proposed to be removed only applies to Head Start preschool center-based programs. Early Head Start center-based programs are still required to serve children for 1,380 annual hours, which provides year-round care.

Access the NPRM

Select this link to review the NPRM: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/03/26/2019-05363/head-start-service-duration-requirements

Submitting Your Comments

The next critical step in this process is for the Office of Head Start to hear from you. Please submit comments on this NPRM between Tuesday, March 25 and Tuesday, May 28, 2019. To submit comments electronically, follow the "Submit a comment" instructions in the Federal Register. This approach is our preferred method for receiving comments. However, if this is not possible, you may send comments via the United States Postal Service to:

Office of Head Start
Attention: Director of Policy and Planning
330 C Street SW, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20201

We will post all comments without change to www.regulations.gov, so please do not include any personal or sensitive information. We will use your comments to help shape our decisions for a final rule.