Parent Involvement Policy Number and Last Update (02.03.01/01-2011)

Policy

The benefit of parent involvement is a cornerstone of Head Start. Each Head Start parent has a right to the opportunity to avail himself of every activity required by the Performance Standards. Because Migrant Head Start parents work, and usually work long hours, this requirement has perpetually created a hardship for staff. This is a hardship that must be born by the staff, and must be compensated by payment of overtime or by flexible schedules.

At a time when the Head Start Bureau is sponsoring initiatives to further involve fathers in the program, and in the lives of their children, Migrant Head Start must accommodate the working schedule of parents. Migrant programs have operated in this way since their inception.

Procedure

All parent meetings, parent committees, policy committees, training workshops, classes, and literacy activities must be held at an hour when the majority of mothers and fathers are not working. For most centers, this means evenings. Programs whose clientele are canning-factory shift-workers, will ideally, hold two similar meetings, or if that is not possible, alternate shifts each month. In no case may a Head Start meeting be held at an hour and a place when fathers' work hours prevent their participation.

Home visits, by Family Service Coordinators, teachers, and other staff must be conducted at an hour when both parents are available, at the parents' house. In most cases, this will necessarily be in the evening. Teachers must be paid overtime for home visits. (Exceptions to this procedure may be made only for rare exceptional circumstances.)

Family Service Coordinators' work must be conducted principally in evenings, or when both parents are not working. FSCs work a permanent, flexible schedule, working most evenings and few mornings, with the bulk of their time spent in the field. The job is so described in MHS plans, and may never be otherwise.