ACF awards grant to American Academy of Pediatrics to run new Head Start National Center on Health

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Contact: Kenneth J. Wolfe
(202) 401-9215

Center part of new, comprehensive effort to provide quality professional development and support to Head Start programs that serve 1 million children nationwide

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Head Start has awarded $3 million to the American Academy of Pediatrics to operate the Office of Head Start National Center on Health. The Center will showcase evidence-based practices that ensure all Head Start and Early Head Start agencies have access to the same level of high-quality information, training and technical assistance in order to produce the best possible outcomes for children.

“The earliest years matter the most when it comes to the growth and development of our children,” said George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “This National Center on Health will provide the professional development and program support to support thousands of Head Start programs across the country.”

The National Center on Health will focus on health, oral health, mental health and nutrition for pregnant women and children birth to five as well as their families. The center will include the following partners: Education Development Center, Inc; Georgetown University's Department of Pediatrics' Center for Child and Human Development; Georgetown University's Health Policy Institutes' National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; the Health Care Institute at the University of California; Los Angeles Anderson School of Management; and the National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“The National Center on Health will join our five existing National Centers and will be instrumental in disseminating the latest evidence based tools, techniques, and research to local grantees to assist them in providing high quality, comprehensive services to the one million children and their families enrolled in Head Start,” said Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Office of Head Start.

The six National Centers are part of a redesigned Training and Technical Assistance System that also includes State, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and American Indian/Alaska Native Centers; and direct funding to local grantees.

In addition to the previously existing Early Head Start National Resource Center, the four other new National Centers include:

•The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning operated by the University of Washington Harding Center in collaboration with the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Iowa State University, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
•The National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness operated by the Bank Street College of Education in partnership with the Educational Development Center and in collaboration with Colorín Colorado.
•The National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations operated by the Academy for Educational Development in partnership with the Training and Technical Assistance Services Department of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Western Kentucky University and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.
•The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement operated by Brazeleton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital of Boston and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Family Research Project with their partners Save the Children, the National PTA, and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

For more information on the Office of Head Start visit or log onto the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center at


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