Revises requirements for allotment, and limitations on use, of Head Start funds, including training and technical activities as well as quality improvement activities.
Includes among quality improvement goals providing:
(1) adequate numbers of qualified staff, with adequate training in developing language skills, premathematics skills, and preliteracy, and in working with LEP children, children referred by child welfare services, and children with disabilities;
(2) salary scales and benefits adequate to attract and retain qualified staff;
(3) salary increases for specified purposes;
(4) collaboration to increase program participation by underserved populations of eligible children;
(5) assistance to complete postsecondary coursework to enable Head Start teachers to improve competencies; and
(6) promotion of regular attendance and stability of all Head Start children, especially highly mobile children, including children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, homeless children, and children in foster care.
Includes among quality improvement activities:
(1) preliteracy development;
(2) help for LEP children in attaining certain knowledge, skills, and development, and promotion of English language acquisition by them and their families;
(3) education and training to improve staff qualifications, particularly assistance to instructors to reach full competency and meet degree requirements under this Act;
(4) outreach to homeless families to increase their program participation;
(5) outreach to migrant and seasonal farmworker families and families with LEP children; and
(6) upgrading of qualifications and skills of educational personnel, including bilingual education teachers and others serving LEP students.
Changes from discretionary to mandatory the authority of the Secretary to award collaboration grants to states and each national administrative office serving Indian Head Start and migrant and seasonal Head Start programs to facilitate coordination between Head Start agencies and entities that carry out other activities designed to benefit low-income families and children from birth to school entry.
Requires the use of collaboration grants to:
(1) assist Head Start agencies to collaborate with entities involved in state and local planning processes to better meet the needs of low-income families and children;
(2) assist Head Start agencies to coordinate activities with the state agency responsible for the state program under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, and other specified entities;
(3) promote alignment of Head Start services with state early learning standards, as appropriate, and the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework;
(4) promote better linkages between Head Start agencies and other child and family agencies; and
(5) carry out the activities of the state Director of Head Start Collaboration. Requires the state to appoint or designate a state Director of Head Start Collaboration (currently state liaison), and establish an Office of such Director. Requires the state Director to:
(1) make specified assessments and strategic plans;
(2) promote certain partnerships;
(3) enable state agencies to better coordinate professional development opportunities for Head Start staff; and
(4) help Head Start agencies develop plans to provide full-working-day, full calendar year services, and align them with state early learning standards, as appropriate, and the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework. Directs the Governor of the state to designate or establish a state advisory council on collaboration on early childhood education and care for children from birth to school entry.
Increases the percentage of funds reserved for Early Head Start programs from at least 12% in FY2008 to at least 20% in FY2012. Applies service delivery guidelines to:
(1) models that leverage the capacity and capabilities of the delivery system of early childhood education and child care; and
(2) procedures to provide for the conversion of part-day programs to full-day programs or part-day slots to full-day slots and serve additional infants and toddlers.
Requires the Secretary, in allotting funds for expansion of Head Start programs, to consider the extent that an applicant:
(1) has involved providers of family support services and protective services for children and families in community-wide strategic planning and needs assessments; and
(2) plans to coordinate its services with a community liaison designated under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 (homeless education liaison), as well as (under current law) with the education services of the local educational agency (LEA). Requires regulations to ensure appropriate supervision and background checks of individuals with whom Head Start agencies contract to transport children.
Establishes limited exceptions to school vehicle safety regulations regarding rear emergency exits and seat spacing requirements.
Directs the Secretary to:
(1) appoint a national migrant and seasonal Head Start program collaboration director and a national Indian Head Start collaboration director;
(2) conduct annual consultations with tribal governments operating Head Start and Early Head Start programs in each affected Head Start region; and
(3) collaborate with providers of migrant and seasonal Head Start programs, and the Secretaries of Agriculture, of Labor, and of Education to increase access for children of migrant and seasonal farmworkers to Head Start services.
Directs the Secretary to issue regulations to require Head Start agencies to remove barriers to the enrollment and participation of homeless children in Head Start programs.
Declares that nothing in the Act shall be construed to require a state to:
(1) establish a program of early education and care for children;
(2) require any child to participate in a program of early education and care in order to attend school; or
(3) participate in any initial screening prior to participation in such program, except under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Requires all curricula funded under the Act to be scientifically, developmentally, and linguistically based, and age appropriate.