First, we know many of you are awaiting an update on the next round of DRS competitions. We have no new news to report since the update we provided last month. As soon as we see a forecast on grants.gov or hear something to report we will pass it along to you!
This week, the Office of Head Start (OHS) released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on Head Start Service Duration Requirements. The purpose of the NPRM is “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.” It is also noted that this applies only to Head Start, and not to Early Head Start programs (still required to provide year-round services, 1,380 hours).
This NPRM suggests a change to the duration requirement that was established in Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) in 2016. The NPRM states that the requirement to provide 1,020 annual hours to children in preschool center-based slots may be too prescriptive. It is also noted that Congress has not approved sufficient additional funding to support increased service duration, and programs complying with the rule could lead to a reduction in the number of children served.
The NPRM summarizes the need for regulatory action as –
…the 100-percent service duration policy is being proposed for elimination in order to provide as much flexibility to grantees as possible to better serve their individual communities, and to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burden.
As with all NPRM’s, your feedback is important. Do you think the 1,020-hour requirement should remain? Should it be eliminated? We encourage you to provide OHS with your ideas and concerns! OHS is accepting comments until May 25, 2019, and you can submit them electronically here.