02.03.08e - Parent Complaints

Parent Complaints Policy Number and Last Update


A parent making a complaint about a Head Start program is acting as a customer, and such has a right to voice any questions, concerns, opinions, or allegations regarding services to themselves or their child(ren). In such a circumstance, however, they are not acting in a policy-making capacity. In no case may a representative of the delegate agency inhibit or prohibit a parent's communication with grantee staff. However, all parties must follow the procedures for parents' complaints.


The board of directors, policy committee, and program director must follow the Head Start Performance Standards (45 CFR 1304.50 Appendix A) rule for governance and management responsibilities. The center director has operating responsibility for the program.

Complaints of child abuse or neglect should be reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' State Central Register. The phone number is included in the parent packet.

Complaints involving the immediate physical or emotional safety of a child should be directed to the local office of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' Office of Day Care Licensing.

In both of the above-mentioned cases, the parents may or may not inform the delegate director, board, or grantee office.

As for other complaints:

A parent should arrange a time to talk to the center director. The parent should present his complaint, written if possible, in a clear and logical way. If the complaint involves a matter of grantee policy, the parties will refer the matter to the corresponding grantee staff member. If the complaint involves internal center procedures, the director and parent will attempt to resolve the issue to mutual satisfaction. The director or parent may request the participation of other center staff and/or grantee staff. If the problem involves an issue of statewide policy or procedures, the Policy Committee should relay a recommendation for change to the Policy Council during the annual strategic planning sessions.

If the center director and the complaining parent cannot agree, they will bring the matter before the next board of directors' meeting (within one month of the original complaint). The board will hear the complaint and response, and within any applicable federal, state, or grantee regulations, will resolve the issue. The board's decision will be final unless subsequently found out of compliance by grantee or federal reviewers. (If the center director or the parent believes the matter to be too urgent to wait for a regular board meeting, they may request from the chairperson, a special meeting of the executive committee).

The resolution of the matter will be reported to the Policy Committee and the grantee office via copies of minutes of the board meeting. The committee's liaison to the board may also make a report to that body.