The focus and goal of the Program Governance service area is to ensure that parents are involved in program policy-making and decisions.
The Head Start Program involves parents as decision-making partners in a variety of ways:
- Parent Committees
- Policy Council
- Decision-making Committees
There are established By-Laws that guide the Parent Committees and Policy Council through their roles and responsibilities.
Parents also participate in activities such as Self-Assessment, and Health Advisory Committee, which have direct impact on the quality of services provided by the Head Start Program. Within each service area are many other opportunities for shared decision-making, both formal and informal.
When parents are involved in program governance, the benefits are many. Parents, who in many instances have never before had opportunities to be part of decision-making teams, gain leadership skills they can use for the rest of their lives. By participating with the Parent Committee and Policy Council, parents learn various skills, including:
- Conducting formal and informal meetings using Parliamentary Procedures
- Voting - having their voice heard
- Collaborating with other groups
- Networking with other parents and professionals
- Increased self-esteem
Through active parent engagement in the Head Start Program, parents often times become involved in their community and add a vital perspective to their community resources.
Facts & Highlights
- Parents who in many instances have never before had opportunities to be part of a decision-making team, gain leadership skills they can use for the rest of their lives.
- The ESC-20 Board of Directors is the governing body of the ESC-20 Head Start Program and is responsible for legal and fiscal administration of the program. Members are invited to attend monthly Policy Council meetings.
- At least 51% of the Policy Council membership must be comprised of current Head Start parents.
- Specific roles and responsibilities of parent decision-making groups are defined in respective By-Law documents.
- The Policy Council approves and endorses any application submitted to the federal government to formally request funding.
- Parents have opportunities to participate in program governance using Parliamentary Procedure by attending Parent Committee meetings or participating on the Policy Council.
- Each site Parent Committee elects Community and Parent Representatives as well as an Alternate to serve on Policy Council.
- A Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, and Secretary are elected by the Policy Council Committee membership to conduct monthly meetings.
- Parents participate with the management team and other community members to conduct the annual self-assessment activity, which is a critical process for the program to monitor effectiveness and compliance.
Tri-County Head Start Contacts:
Bexar County Head Start Contact: