Department of Health and Human Services: Migrant and Seasonal Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grants
The Early Head Start (EHS) program will fund applications that demonstrate an organization’s commitment and capacity to operate an EHS program that raises the quality of early care and education in the community and helps children start school ready to succeed. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is seeking applicants that are able to use the best evidence-based, early education practices in their programs to support high caliber classroom instruction, home visiting services, and effective family engagement and health promotion.
In 1969, the Migrant Head Start Program was established to provide services to the children of migrant farmworkers. The program provides funds to grantees that offer Head Start services to low-income farm-worker families that migrate during the harvest season to engage in agricultural labor. In 1998, language was added to the Head Start Act that allowed migrant programs to serve the children of low-income seasonal farmworkers.
A typical Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program serves children ages 0 to 5 in licensed child care centers or family child care homes. Since parents are working long hours, migrant programs typically operate between 8 to 12 hours a day (lengths of the day depends upon the peak harvests in the service area), including some holidays or weekends at the peak of the agricultural season. Services to migrant children are provided during the time families are working in the fields, often from mid-spring until the fall, although this varies considerably, depending on a program’s location. Services for seasonal children are generally provided concurrently with the school year, generally September to May, although this also may vary depending on the particular needs of a program’s seasonal families.
MSHS was created to serve working families. Therefore, programs are expected to accommodate the needs of parents’ long work days. Usually, meetings with families are held in the evenings or on weekends to encourage parent participation. Typically, transportation is provided to the children as young as two months old, to and from home, ensuring their attendance. Many migrant families share the use of vehicles to get to and from work and cannot transport their children to the Head Start centers. Once at the centers or family child care homes, well-balanced and healthy meals are provided. In addition to medical and dental services, the children receive comprehensive services, including the implementation of an evidence-based curriculum to ensure children are ready for school.
Amount: An anticipated $6,159,392 is available to make approximately eight awards ranging from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
Eligibility: Entities operating Head Start, entities operating Indian Head Start or MSHS programs, and other public entities and nonprofit or for-profit private entities, including community-based and faith-based organizations, capable of providing child and family services that meet the standard for participation in programs under the Head Start Act.
In order for a child to be eligible for MSHS: 1) the family must generally be low income according to federal poverty guidelines, 2) the family must meet the Head Start definition of migrant or seasonal, and 3) the grantee must be able to verify that the family income is derived primarily (more than 50 percent) from agricultural work.
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