OHS Announces Supplemental Grant Funds to Help Agencies Increase Program Hours
Ever since the Office of Head Start (OHS) announced the full enrollment initiative in June, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions about what kind of support Head Start will provide at the federal level to help programs get closer to the goal of full enrollment. We’re starting to see those questions get answered.
OHS recently issued a new program instruction (PI) detailing additional funds that have become available through the federal appropriations process, in total about $295 million. According to the PI, the funding was made available to increase the “total annual hours of high-quality early education services offered to children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start center-based, family child care, and locally-designed programs.”
We won’t go into the nitty gritty details on the conditions of eligibility and the application process (read the program instruction in its entirety here); however, we do want to point out a few key elements that will help you decide if applying for some of those funds would be beneficial.
- Applications must be received by December 1, 2018
- Initial awards will be granted March 1, 2019
- These funds will be awarded in priority order by seven conditions, with the first two priority conditions being EHS or HS programs operating less than 100% of family child care slots at 1,380 hours.
- Programs must base their approach on the most recent community assessment and the program’s priorities for selection of children with the highest need for services.
- To any programs awarded funds, OHS expects applicants will be fully operational at the increased service hours not later than the 2019–20 school year.
So it seems that OHS isn’t going to leave programs out in the cold on this one. Full enrollment is a lofty goal, but certainly achievable if we all work hard and utilize the resources available to us to make it happen. What do you think? Will you be applying for some of these funds? Do you think additional funding is the magic bullet that will help programs reach full enrollment? Or are there other barriers that more funding simply won’t fix? We want to hear from you! Leave your comments below!