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CSBG IM No. 87 Fiscal and Governance Workshops at the Community Action Partnership Annual Convention FY 2005

Published: June 24, 2005
Community Services Block Grants (CSBG)
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)


Transmittal No. 87

Date: June 24, 2005






State Community Services Block Grant Program Directors



The Office of Community Services, Division of State Assistance



Fiscal and Governance Workshops at the Community Action Partnership 2005 Annual Convention in New Orleans





The Office of Community Services (OCS) makes funds available to States, under the CSBG Act, to help alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty. The significant amount of CSBG funds disseminated by State CSBG administrators, are awarded to Community Action Agencies (CAAs) that administer a wide range of human services including Head Start Programs. Approximately 60 percent of the nation's CAAs administer Head Start Programs.

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on “Head Start: Comprehensive Approach to Identifying and Addressing Risks Could Help Prevent Grantee Financial Management Weaknesses” found that financial management of Head Start Programs is a major problem nationally. For example,”the 2000 PRISM reviews identified 838 grantees (about 76 percent of all those reviewed) out of compliance with one or more financial management standards—either in fiscal management, program governance, or record keeping and reporting”. According to the report, the next time those same grantees were reviewed, 440-or 53 percent-were cited again for problems in those same areas. The report makes several recommendations to improve the Head Start Program by identifying and addressing financial management weaknesses. The ACF Assistant Secretary, Dr. Wade Horn is committed to implementing the recommendations that will strengthen the program and ensure the highest level of service delivery possible.

OCS has been working closely with the Head Start Bureau, ACF regional office staff and CSBG state agencies to help ensure that CSBG state administrators are aware of PRISM reviews and are providing appropriate technical assistance. OCS has determined that more proactive interventions are necessary to mitigate the factors that contribute to poor performance, particularly in the CAAs fiscal and governance capacities and ensure retention of vital community services. As such, OCS and the Head Start Bureau plan to facilitate a series of workshops during the Community Action Partnership 2005 Annual Convention, August 30 through September 2, in New Orleans. We anticipate five workshops on governance and fiscal skills building.

We are all vitally interested in ensuring that CAA's who are at risk particularly in the areas of governance, internal controls and fiscal management have been identified in your State. If at all possible, we want these agencies to send key staff to participate in these targeted workshops. Please contact these agencies and strongly encourage them to attend the conference and register for the OCS/Head Start workshop track.

We are asking that you follow-up with agency officials to ascertain if they attended the workshops hosted by OCS/Head Start. If travel or other circumstances prevent an agency from attending the workshops, we ask that you work with the Head Start Collaboration Officer in your state to ensure that these agencies get practical governance and fiscal management training.

Section 678A of the CSBG Act specifies the process for training and technical assistance and for ensuring, “that the needs of eligible entities and programs relating to improving program quality (including quality of financial management practices) are addressed to the maximum extent feasible”. Section 678E(a)(2) requires each state to prepare and submit a report to the Secretary summarizing and describing the training and technical assistance offered by the State during the year covered by the report. We are requesting that this training and technical assistance report include all efforts which the State has provided to at-risk CAAs. If the Head Start Program provided the necessary training or the agency contracted for its own training and/or the CAA attended the referenced workshop, please include this in your training and technical assistance report that you submit to OCS by March 31, 2006.

The content of this IM does not apply to agencies for which CSBG termination procedures are underway, pending or strongly anticipated.

Should you have any questions about this memorandum, please call OCS at 202-401-9343.




Margaret Washnitzer, DSW
Director of State Assistance
Office of Community Services