ACF Industry Day Transcript.docx


OHS Industry Day_Transcript
Original Source
Contract Opportunity
Oct. 21, 2019



ACF Industry Day

>> Muriel Richardson: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for the very first Office of Head Start Training and Technical Assistance industry day. Before we begin, I'd like to sort of give you an overview of our purpose and the reason that we had decided to hold this special event. The government, and specifically the Office of Head Start, would like to be able to determine industry capabilities, identify potential resources, and receive industry feedback on its upcoming solicitation for training and technical assistance.

This solicitation comprises of 12 awards, one for each ACF regional. These contracts provide local program Head Start grantees with TA to improve the capacity of local programs and to deliver services in the priority areas described in the Head Start Act, and you will learn a lot more about the Head Start program and the T/TA national system in a few minutes when we have our guest speakers coming to present. As a reminder, just a couple of housekeeping items. This session is being recorded. There will be a Q&A session after the presentation, and the Q&A will be posted on FedBizOpps.

So, today's agenda comprises of our welcoming remarks. And from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., the Office of Head Start will be presenting its PowerPoint. From 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., we'll open it up for Q&A. Now, we have index cards available to you if you prefer to submit your questions in writing. You may also submit them verbally. And you see the gentleman standing with index cards in the front row here.

Afterwards, we will open up the floor for meeting with you individually. We have all 12 regions represented here today. We have CORs and federal staff from every single region, so if you have particular interest in a region, please reach out to these folks. Ask them your questions. We also have handouts for you which provide sort of a snapshot overview of the programs that we serve and the states in which we serve them.

So, we will be joined today by Sharon Yandian, who's the director of the Comprehensive Services and TA; Patricia McMann, the TA manager. We also have with us Darryl Grant, who is the acquisition management services customer liaison. He is with the Program Support Office, which is our cognizant contracting office. And we will also be joined by phone -- Allyson Brown, who is the small business specialist for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, will be available to respond to questions. So, at this time, I'd like to invite Sharon Yandian and Pat McMahon to present on the Office of Head Start and the TA system.

>> Sharon Yandian: Good morning.

>> Multiple Speakers: Good morning.

>> Sharon Yandian: Thank you so much for coming. Patricia, would you like to stand with me?

>> Patricia McMahon: [unintelligible]

>> Sharon Yandian: Okay, great.

>> Patricia McMahon: Do you want me to stand with you?

>> Sharon Yandian: No, I don't think it's necessary. Okay, anyway, we want to have a little fun this morning and talk with you a little bit. As Muriel shared, you're going to have a wonderful opportunity to talk with the folks who actually are experts in the regions in which you may be interested sitting around the table. So, what I'm going to do in the next brief amount of time is provide an overview of the national landscape so that when you get that opportunity to speak in the region, you'll have that context, and many of you may already have that context.

I also, before we get started, wanted to remind you that I think in the announcement the website for ACF was available. And on that website, it also connects you to the ECLKC, which is where you'll find a wonderful array of materials and resources on Head Start. So, you just need to put into Google "ECLKC," and it will come up for you. And so, just to get us started -- and I see it's working just fine. So, you know, we are so very proud of the work that we all do on behalf of children and families in Head Start, and you may know that it started in the War on Poverty.

The Office of Head Start at the time was in OEO, and I've had the amazing opportunity to meet some of the architects of Head Start who are still living and learn from them about those early years, which started with an eight-week summer program for children who -- and families living in poverty to kind of get them ready for their entry into school. And so, you know, there are many tenets from the early years that are still around, and that's the beauty, I think, of -- many of the beauties of Head Start. But one is the federal-to-local nature.

And so, as you think about the regional structure that you'll be learning about more, we really honor the federal-to-local relationship, and that communities know best about what they need for children and family in the community. So, that is a bit of the history. And as you can see, that is the focus. Parents are the primary and the first teachers -- that is another tenet that has been around from the beginning -- and that we need to be holistic about the work that we do with children and families.

That it isn't just about what happens in the classroom or that learning environment, of course, which is extremely important, but we really need to think about, what does the child need as it relates to dental services, health services. And so, that's a little bit of the foundation, and as you can see there, the source is, as Muriel cited earlier, the Head Start Act there. And so, the purpose; you know, the purpose of Head Start really is to ready children and families for school and in life, and it gives that opportunity early on for the possibility of seeing if there's catching anything early.

In many cases, as we know, children who live in poverty are coming to school, to programs, hungry. They are coming with dental issues. They're coming with wonderful family supports. We honor the families; they know what is best for their children. And -- but the opportunity to perhaps do a vision screening, which is required, to make sure that the child enters school with glasses seems very -- may seem very simple to some, but really gets children started, their trajectory into school, well on their way.

And so, the authorizing purpose of Head Start is school readiness, and that's very, you know, broad. We have it defined here, thinking about the social, emotional development, which is extremely important, as well as the educational aspect. And then, of course, again, the comprehensive services as we described, those supports for the health, and supports for families who may need extra supports based on what may be happening in their lives at that time. And that's the role of the program. Did I miss anything so far?

>> Female Speaker: No.

>> Sharon Yandian: Good.

>> Female Speaker: Everything is good.

>> Sharon Yandian: Okay. All right, we wanted to talk just a little bit -- again, you're going to be -- when you have the opportunity to walk around, you'll be learning a little bit more about the funding level at the regional level and the numbers of children and et cetera. But here is just a snapshot of the -- you know, we're now at $10 billion, and, you know, additional funds were awarded for several things this year and last year that you may or may not have heard about in addition to the cost-of-living adjustment, which isn't always a given.

The -- we had a very large expansion of the Head Start childcare partnerships, which is that opportunity for the Head Start program to collaborate with a childcare partner in the community to increase the quality of childcare and bring that comprehensive services nature to the childcare in the community, which is a wonderful opportunity for both the Head Start program and the childcare program in the community to grow together.

We have also additional funds to continue to expand -- some programs are part-day, part-year, and we are moving towards more full-day, full-year programming, and that's what those funds were for, as well as improvements for health and safety. We have -- you know, I see we don't have a lot of time, but, you know, one of the big areas that programs are challenged by is facilities. Some of the facilities are very old; others are not set up right. And so, facilities is a big area that we think about when we think about health and safety. All right.

So, the program performance standards. Very important; a little light reading for you, you know, and even more light reading is the preamble, which is describing the rationale for why we, you know, decided to have that particular standard. It's actually very interesting to read. But the program performance standards; again, many, many of the standards and the tenets have been around a long time, but in the past three years -- I think in 2016, we revised and streamlined the performance standards that programs are required to follow, and hence, folks who work on the regional contracts need to understand very well.

And as you can see, you know, it's a road map to what we believe is quality early childhood programming. And they really don't tell you how to do things; they tell you what is required, and that is the beauty, I think, of the standards, because, you know, as we know, programs are at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, they're in Hawaii, they're in Mississippi, but it shouldn't matter if you go to a program. The same performance standards should be in place. It may -- how they're implementing the standard may look a little different, but you should -- we should feel confident that the standards are the same across anywhere that you go.

I think that's all about the -- those are available on the ECLKC as well. You could really spend a lot of time on there because there's videos. Right? There's handouts. You know, when we had the standards in 2016 it was -- it had been a