Referral Procedure Policy Number and Last Update
Migrant Head Start is not designed to deliver all needed services directly to children and families. It is essential that Head Start maximize the use of other community resources.
Family Services Coordinators most often facilitate external referrals. Work with the families to the point that the families are able to specify their needs. Once these are established, you are then able to suggest appropriate resources within the program or community to meet those needs. Very often in the course of ongoing regular contacts with families, you hear about serious problems they may be experiencing, such as domestic violence and alcoholism. It is important for us to recognize that we don't have the necessary skills and training to provide direct services in these situations. Nonetheless, you play a vital role in ensuring that families obtain the services they need by referring them to the correct agency.
Families should always be encouraged to take an active part in the referral process. Because you have already established rapport with the families and they trust you, assure them that you have also established rapport with the agency to which they are being referred. Give the families the name of the contact person within the agency.
An important activity for the social services staff is following up on referrals to other service providers to make certain that families actually receive the services requested. Follow-up includes contacting the agency to which the family was referred, as well as checking with the family to determine whether or not services were received and how the service provider treated the family. And when families are really are not receiving the services they need, center staff helps parents to organize and work with agencies to improve their response. (02.05.08 & 02.05.26)