Unannounced reviews are coming soon to Head Start centers around the country in the wake of a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office. It found several instances of Head Start centers accepting families with income levels too high to qualify -- with employees sometimes encouraging them to hide their earnings.
- One Head Start grantee in Texas had nine of 28 centers with more than the allowed 10 percent of over-income families.
- In one center 44 percent of the families were over-income, with two families reporting income of more than $110,000.
- Head Start staff at some centers encouraged families to say they were homeless, making them automatically eligible for Head Start services.
- A Midwest Migrant and Season Head Start program was moving children from one center to another center, leaving children on the rolls at both centers to make it appear that both centers had reached full enrollment.
- Conduct unannounced monitoring visits to Head Start grantees;
- Create and publicize a web-based hotline that will allow those with information of impropriety to report it to her office;
- Develop new regulations that address verification requirements and staff training on eligibility criteria and procedures;
- Increase oversight, particularly of grantees with identified risk factors; and
- Require grantees to recompete for their grants when questions arise about whether they are offering high-quality services or have management lapses.