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                   Barbara Mahaney – Board President                                  Blair Hyatt - Executive Director

CONTACT:         Blair Hyatt
                 PHSA Executive Director
                 717-645-0155 or

              PHSA Joins HHS in Calling for Stronger Accountability and
                         Oversight of Head Start Programs
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Blair Hyatt, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, joined
the Department of Health and Human Services in calling for stronger accountability and oversight of Head Start
programs in light of today’s GAO report.

At the May 18, 2010 US House Education and Labor Committee hearing, “Examining GAO's Review of Selected
Head Start Grantees” testimony about an ongoing GAO investigation revealed eight instances when employees of
Head Start programs made determinations that children were eligible for Head Start services despite being given
evidence that the families’ income were above the eligibility limit.

 “Our membership is deeply troubled by the results of the GAO report,” stated Blair Hyatt, Executive Director of
the PHSA. “We take the allegations made in the report very seriously. Our grantees are dedicated to providing
the highest quality services and programming to low income kids and families. We applaud HHS and the Office
of Head Start for quickly launching several accountability steps that will immediately improve oversight. Only
properly run, high quality programs should be in the Head Start business. Head Start children and families
deserve nothing less.”

As a result of the report the Department of Health and Human Services has taken swift action by doing the
    1.   Issuing guidance to grantees on their legal obligations to verify eligibility and to maintain accurate
    2.   Beginning unannounced site visits of local programs as a supplement to the current monitoring process.
    3.   Setting up a new web based “hotline” so that employees, parents, and citizens can report any wrong-
Every year in Pennsylvania, over 40,000 of the state’s most vulnerable children and their families benefit from
participating in a Head Start program. Compliance with eligibility regulations lies at the very heart of the Head
Start mission. Determining eligibility can be complex- some children are categorically eligible such as homeless
and foster children. Others require eligibility determination base on family income. Regulations require
programs verify whether families are income eligible for Head Start.

 “While we are concerned that it appears that a program in Pennsylvania was not following the federally mandate
regulations for income eligibility, we believe that this does not represent how the majority of our highly
respected, quality Head Start programs operate,” said Hyatt.


              3700 Vartan Way, Harrisburg, PA 17110 Phone: (717) 526-4646 Fax: (717) 541-8226
                Email: or visit us on the web at

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