Head Start terminates local grantee for multiple health and safety violations

Interim provider will continue to serve local children

HHS’ Office of Head Start announced today the termination of the Jacksonville Urban League’s (JUL) Head Start and Early Head Start grants.  Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms will open as planned on September 3rd under an interim grantee.  The interim grantee will continue to provide services to local children until a new grantee is selected for the area.  

“The health and safety of our children and families is always our number one priority,” said Office of Head Start Director Yvette Sanchez Fuentes. “There was never a question of whether Head Start would continue in Jacksonville. It’s always been about who can provide the highest quality of services to the children and families.”  

During a review of JUL’s Head Start locations in the spring of 2013, the Office of Head Start discovered nine health, safety and environmental violations.  OHS suspended JUL’s grant until these and other deficiencies, including child supervision incidents, could be rectified.  An interim Head Start grantee, Community Development Institute (CDI), deployed a team in April to Jacksonville to continue providing services to the affected children during the suspension.

JUL had 30 days to fix these deficiencies, which included sewage leaks and lead-based paint. During a follow-up inspection last week, the Office of Head Start discovered that many of these health and safety violations had not been corrected.  As a result, JUL’s grants were terminated.

CDI will continue to provide Head Start services to local children while a new permanent grantee is sought.  The funding opportunity announcement for the Jacksonville Head Start grant is currently open for competitive application and will close on October 22, 2013.  Interested organizations can apply at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2014-ACF-OHS-CH-R04-0....

For more information on Head Start, please visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov/ohs/.