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Review of Head Start Health and Safety Standards at Brooklyn Child and Family Services, Inc.

As part of a series of reviews requested by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, we found that Brooklyn Child and Family Services, Inc. (the Grantee), located in New York State, did not fully comply with Federal and State requirements on ensuring the health and safety of children in its care. The major objectives of the Head Start program include promoting school readiness and enhancing the social and cognitive development of low-income children by providing health, educational, nutritional, and social services. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, Congress appropriated $7.1 billion to fund the Head Start program's regular operations. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides an additional $2.1 billion for the program during FYs 2009 and 2010.

As of July 2009, the Grantee's files showed that the Grantee did not obtain timely criminal background checks on 21 of its 36 Head Start employees. In addition, the Grantee's childcare facility did not meet all Federal Head Start and State regulations on protecting children from unsafe materials and equipment. The Grantee's failure to follow these requirements jeopardized the health and safety of children in its care.

We recommended that the Grantee develop and consistently follow procedures to ensure that (1) all employee files contain documentation of timely criminal background checks and (2) all unsanitary and unsafe conditions are corrected. The Grantee concurred with our findings and described its completed and ongoing actions to address the deficiencies that we identified.

Filed under: Administration for Children and Families