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Audit (A-03-09-00361)

06-25-2010
Review of Community Development Institute Head Start, North Metro DC, Compliance With Health and Safety Regulations for Head Start Programs

Executive Summary

As part of a series of reviews requested by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, we found that Community Development Institute Head Start, North Metro DC (the Grantee), located in the District of Columbia, 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 June 2009, the files on all 19 of the Grantee's Head Start employees lacked evidence of checks of the child protection register, evidence of completed background checks, or employee-signed declarations listing any relevant criminal convictions. Further, the Grantee's two childcare facilities did not meet all Federal Head Start and State requirements on protecting children from unsafe materials and equipment, and one of the facilities did not provide a secure environment for the children in its care. The Grantee's failure to comply with these requirements jeopardized the health and safety of children in its care.

We recommended that the Grantee develop and consistently implement procedures to ensure that (1) all employee files contain evidence of checks of the child protection register, evidence of completed background checks, and employee-signed declarations listing any relevant criminal convictions; (2) all unsafe materials and equipment are stored in locked areas out of the reach of children and other unsafe conditions are addressed; and (3) all facilities are secure. The Grantee concurred with our recommendations.

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