Type of Implementing Agency
According to the Head Start Program Performance Standards, Early Head Start-Home Visiting agencies can include (1) entities operating Head Start programs; (2) entities operating Indian Head Start programs or migrant or seasonal Head Start programs; and (3) other public entities, and nonprofit or for-profit private entities, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
Early Head Start-Home Visiting programs have two primary staff positions: (1) home visitors who conduct home visits with families and run group socialization meetings, and (2) a director who oversees the program. In addition, Early Head Start-Home Visiting programs must have management staff with content expertise in the following areas: (1) early childhood development and health services, including child development and education; (2) child medical, dental, and mental health; (3) child nutrition; (4) services for children with disabilities; and (5) family and community partnerships, including parent activities.
Staff Education and Experience
According to the Head Start Program Performance Standards, home visitors working with infants and toddlers are required to have knowledge and experience in (1) child development and early childhood education; (2) principles of child health, safety, and nutrition; (3) adult learning principles; and (4) family dynamics. In addition, Early Head Start-Home Visiting staff must be able to effectively communicate, to the best extent possible, with children and families with no or limited English proficiency. Home visitors must be able to communicate with the families they serve either directly or through an interpreter. They should also be familiar with the ethnic background of these families. The Early Head Start-Home Visiting director must have demonstrated skills and abilities in a management capacity relevant to human services program management. Home visitors are required to participate in pre-service training.
Head Start Program Performance Standards require an organizational structure and staffing patterns to ensure full implementation of all requirements for the Early Head Start-Home Visiting structure.
At a minimum, the Head Start Program Performance Standards require that Early Head Start-Home Visiting programs perform annual performance reviews and use the results to identify training and professional development needs, modify staff performance agreements, and assist in improving staff skills and professional competencies. Early Head Start recommends several supervision strategies to retain, develop, and support staff. These include consistent, formal, reflective supervision; supervision and feedback conducted during home visits; and opportunities for home visitors to meet together.
Staff Ratio Requirements
The Head Start Program Performance Standards require that home visitors maintain an average caseload of 10 to 12 families, with a maximum of 12 families for any individual home visitor.
Data Systems/Technology Requirements
While there are no specific infrastructure or data system requirements, the Office of Head Start recommends that programs establish and maintain record-keeping systems that allow them to provide accurate, up-to-date information and generate timely financial and programmatic reports.
The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2013 based on updated information received from the Office of Head Start. References for Developer Recommendations lists the sources for this information.