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Audit (A-05-09-00079)

Review of Northcott Neighborhood House’s 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 Northcott Neighborhood House (the Grantee), located in Wisconsin, 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 May 2009, the Grantee could not provide any evidence that its two contracted busdrivers had received driving record checks, preemployment medical examinations, or required training. In addition, the Grantee’s three childcare facilities did not meet all Federal Head Start and State regulations on protecting children from unsafe materials and equipment and providing a secure environment for children. The Grantee’s failure to comply with these regulations jeopardized the health and safety of children in its care.

We recommended that the Grantee develop and consistently follow procedures to ensure that (1) if it resumes transportation services, all Federal requirements related to busdriver qualifications and training are met and documented and (2) all unsafe materials and equipment are stored in locked areas out of the reach of children, all necessary repairs are addressed in a timely manner, and all facilities are secure. The Grantee agreed with our recommendations.

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