Policy & Regulations

Head Start Designation Renewal

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Designation Renewal System through a regulation that became effective on December 9, 2011. This regulation specifies seven conditions that HHS will consider when determining whether a grantee is delivering a high-quality and comprehensive program, and thus, whether the grantee may be renewed without having to compete for continued funding. In particular, if a grantee is found to meet any of those seven conditions during the time periods specified in the regulation, then that grantee will be required to compete for continued funding. For more detailed information, see Section 641(c)(1) of the Head Start Act and the regulation, which is codified at 45 C.F.R. 1307.

Head Start Act

On Dec. 12, 2007, President Bush signed Public Law 110-134 "Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007" reauthorizing the Head Start program through Sept. 30, 2012. Read the amended Head Start Act or view/download the PDF version in English [PDF 540KB] and Spanish [PDF 833KB].

Head Start Performance Standards

The Head Start Performance Standards define standards and minimum requirements for the entire range of Early Head Start and Head Start services. They are applicable to both Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Program Instructions

A Program Instruction (PI) addresses a specific requirement that Head Start grantees and delegate agencies must implement in their programs.

Information Memorandums

An Information Memorandum (IM) is a targeted communication tool from the Office of Head Start which provides policy information to Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and delegate agencies.

Policy Clarifications

Policy Clarifications (PC) are arranged in a Q&A format that explain in detail questions that arise about Head Start Policy.