Phone (419) 784-5136 | Address: 1933 E 2nd Street Defiance, Ohio 43512

Child Custody Disputes

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start staff will obtain legal documentation if a family indicates that there is some conflict regarding with whom the child resides.

PROCEDURES:

Determining Legal Custody/Guardianship

  1. The person (if other than parent) enrolling a child into Head Start must have legal documentation to substantiate their role as legal guardian. A child’s authorized caregiver or legally responsible party may include:
    1. A blood relative who has been declared by a state agency a child’s legal guardian.
      1. This is considered a Foster/Kinship relationship. Grandparents, Aunt/Uncles, cousins etc…
    2. Authorized Foster Family
    3. A state agency approved guardian or caregiver
  2. Acceptable documentation includes:
    1. Letter of guardianship from the courts or a state agency
    2. Temporary Letter of guardianship from the courts or state agency
  3. NOCAC centers cannot legally restrict the non-custodial parent from visiting the child, or reviewing the child’s records. NOCAC Head Start has an open door policy which means any parent is welcome to visit our centers unless:
    1. There is a documented restraining or no contact order on file for the enrolled child from the parent wishing to come to the center/classroom.
    2. In dual custody/non-custodial situations, where the parent is to be involved in their child’s Head Start experience, staff needs to devise ways for both parents to attend parent conferences and home visits.
    3. NOCAC Staff will contact the non-custodial parent and introduce themselves and invite them to attend Head Start events.
    4. In the case where the parent/guardian cannot be physically present, duplicate progress reports, assessments, and other materials about their child’s progress can be mailed to include them in their child’s education.
    5. If an enrolled child is named on a restraining order, restricting an individual from contacting the child,
  4. A copy is obtained from the parent/guardian and placed in the child’s file.
  5. A copy is attached to the Child Enrollment and Health form on the bus
  6. NOCAC Staff should ask parent/guardian for a picture of the individual and attach to the order.
  7. All staff are made aware of the order and shown the picture.
  8. If the individual who is on the restraining order attempts to enter the center, contact or remove the child from the center, the police and custodial parent/guardian are to be called immediately.
  9. NOCAC Staff are to document information on a Child Abuse/Neglect Report form.
  10. NOCAC Staff will hold custody issue in strict confidence.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    

 

Effective Date: 8/7/17 Revision Date: 8/7/17
Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17

Family/Community Grievance Procedure

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start will address and attempt to resolve any concerns, complaints or problems a family has concerning their child and his/her involvement in our program.

PROCEDURES:

  1. If an individual is unhappy with a situation in their child’s center/classroom they are encouraged to:
    1. Discuss the issue with their child’s teacher to seek resolution.
    2. If the individual is not satisfied after speaking with the Teacher he/she will be asked to speak with the Center Manager.
    3. If the individual is still not satisfied after speaking with the Center Manager he/she may contact the Family & Community Engagement Manager at the Central Office @ 419-784-5136.
    4. If the above communications are not helpful the individual needs to follow the grievance procedure outlined below.
  2. Individuals having a complaint or concern regarding an area of operation of the Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission – Child Development Program are encouraged to complete a Grievance Form which is included in the NOCAC Family Handbook and Calendar ( also available at the NOCAC Central Office, 1933 E. Second Street, Defiance, OH 43512) and mail it to the attention of the Head Start/ECE Director.
  3. The Head Start/ECE Director will coordinate the grievance procedure.
  4. A response regarding the area of concern will be sent within 7 days to the individual on the Grievance form. This response may include an explanation of operations and/or a plan of action to correct a situation.
  5. Following the receipt of the agency response, individuals may request or provide additional information by phone or Grievance form. Individuals making a grievance following the above procedure will be kept confidential if requested. Grievances may be discussed with appropriate staff as needed.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    

 

Effective Date: 8/7/17 Revision Date: 8/7/17
Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17

In-Kind

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start is required by the Grant that 20 percent of the total grantee budget be submitted as non-federal share. This means that 20% of the total HS Budget must come from donations made by the families and communities that NOCAC Head Start serves.

PROCEDURES:

  1. NOCAC values contributed services and property that are to be used to meet a cost sharing or matching requirement at their fair market values at the time of contribution, unless award documents or federal agency regulations identify specific values to be used.
  2. NOCAC Staff will follow the Non-Federal Share (in-Kind) Procedure in the Fiscal Handbook.
  3. Guidance for families about In-Kind is found in the NOCAC Family Handbook and Calendar and Staff Calendar. NOCAC staff will review this with each family during the 1st Home Visit.
  4. Checklist for Quality Improvement in In-Kind Report
    1. Your signature makes you accountable for the In-Kind.
    2. Make sure families know that they do not produce In-Kind simply to meet a program requirement, but that it is a way for them to learn how to observe and assess their child’s progress.
    3. Give examples of acceptable/unacceptable activity. Is the family in control of activity?
    4. Stress the need for consistent high volume In-Kind (average of an hour a day is desired)
    5. Stress that In-Kind should be completed weekly. One week per sheet.
    6. Get proper signatures from all adults who worked with the child. (Anyone listed as working with the child must also sign the form, cannot be signed “Grandpa” or “Dad”, etc, must be legal first and last name signatures)
  5. NOCAC Staff will hand in completed In-Kinds to the Administrative Assistant at the Central Office by the 10th of each month.
    1. Any previous month In-Kinds received after the 10th hold at the center until the next month and then mix them together and send all at one time by the 10th of the next month.
    2. Previous year’s In-Kind can be sent in until January 20th
    3. When a child withdraws, send in In-Kinds with the rest of the month on the 10th
  1. Only 1 In-Kind per family/household. If there are siblings enrolled, it counts as one.
  2. Before sending In-Kinds to the Central Office, NOCAC Staff will:
    1. Print the parent/guardian’s name on the In-Kind.
    2. Add the hours from the activity side.
      1. Write that amount on the side with the signatures.
    3. Add all of the In-Kind for one parent; write that total in the upper right corner of the signed side. Staple In-Kind for each parent together on the upper left corner of this side.
    4. NOCAC staff sign each In-Kind.
    5. Alphabetize them according to parent last name.
  3. Why we encourage Family Engagement
    1. It is important to remember to have the best interest of the child always in view. It is NOCAC’s belief, and has been substantiated by research, that Family Engagement is essential and directly correlates to how well a child does in their educational growth.
    2. The Parent is the child’s first and most important teacher. They can help their child develop more fully by paying close attention to signs of development and responding in a way that will support and challenge their child.
    3. Completing In-Kind and working on the bag tags should give the parents a feeling of competence as a teacher for their child. It should also help increase the parents’ knowledge of child development. It should provide opportunities to observe their child and apply knowledge.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    

 

Effective Date:   8/7/17 Revision Date:   8/7/17
Approved By Policy Council:   8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council:   8/7/17

Community Partnerships and Coordination with other Early Childhood and Education Programs

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start will establish ongoing collaborative relationships and partnerships with community organizations such as establishing joint agreements, procedures, or contracts and arranging for onsite delivery of services as appropriate to facilitate access to community services that are responsive to children and family needs and family partnership goals, and community needs and resources, as determined by the community assessment.

PROCEDURES:

  1. NOCAC Head Start community partnerships include:
    1. Health care providers
    2. Child and adult mental health professionals
    3. Medicaid managed care networks
    4. Dentists and other health professionals
    5. Nutritional service providers
    6. Substance abuse treatment providers
    7. Individuals and agencies that provide services to children with disabilities and their families, elementary schools, state preschool providers, and providers of child care services
    8. Family preservation and support services and child protective services and any other agency to which child abuse must be reported under state or tribal law;
    9. Educational and cultural institutions
    10. Public Assistance programs
    11. Housing assistance agencies and providers of support for children and families experiencing homelessness, including the local educational agency liaison designated under section 722(g)(1)(J)(ii) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.)
    12. Domestic violence prevention and support providers
  1. NOCAC Head Start takes an active role in promoting coordinated systems of comprehensive early childhood services to low-income children and families in their community through communication, cooperation, and the sharing of information among agencies and their community partners, while protecting the privacy of child records in accordance with subpart C in the HSPPS

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.53
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    

 

Effective Date: 8/7/17 Revision Date: 8/7/17
Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17

Parent Activities to Promote Child Learning and Development

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start promotes shared responsibility with parents/families for their child’s early learning and development and offers them engagement opportunities to help build their confidence.

PROCEDURES:

  1. Activities/information for families to support parent-child relationships and child development, the importance of regular attendance and child development including language, dual language, literacy, and bi-literacy are provided through:
    1. Family Orientation/ Open House
    2. Home Visits
    3. Parent-Teacher Conferences
    4. Community Events
    5. Reading is FUNdemental Week
    6. Field Trips
    7. Classroom Activities
    8. Family Interest Surveys
    9. In-Kind
    10. Agency and classroom newsletters
    11. Assessment and identification of strengths
    12. Volunteering
    13. Bag Tags
    14. Family Fun Nights
    15. “Bring Your…” to school
    16. Parent Committee Association Meetings
    17. Policy Council
    18. Family Picnics
    19. and more
  2. NOCAC Head Start will provide at a minimum the following training opportunities and/or information to families either directly or through referral to local community partners:
    1. Family Literacy
    2. Parenting Skills – recognize parents as their child’s primary teacher and nurturer
    3. Substance Abuse Counseling
    4. Basic Child Development
    5. Assistance in developing literacy and communication skills
    6. Health services
    7. Opportunities to share experiences with other parents (including parent-mentor relationships)
    8. The benefits of parental involvement
    9. Any other activity designed to help parents become full partners in the education of their children
  3. NOCAC Head Start staff will promote the continued involvement of parents in the education of their children as they transition to kindergarten by working with the local education agencies to provide:
    1. Parent rights and responsibilities concerning the education of their children
    2. Enable parents to:
      1. Understand and work with schools in order to communicate with teachers and other school personnel
      2. Support the schoolwork of their children
      3. Participate as appropriate in decisions relating to the education of their children
  4. When feasible, trainings and other materials will be provided in the family’s home language.
  5. NOCAC Head Start offers opportunities for families to participate in the Conscious Discipline researched based parenting curriculum that is offered throughout the program year. This curriculum offers families the opportunity to practice parenting skills to promote children’s’ learning and development and social/emotional skills.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:  1302.51
ODJFS Child Care Manual:
CACFP Regulation:
Caring for Our Children:
Other Sources:

 

Effective Date: Revision Date:
Approved By Policy Council: Revision Approved By Policy Council:

Family Partnership Services

POLICY:

NOCAC Head Start collaborates with families in a family partnership process that identifies needs, interests, strengths, goals and services and resources that support family well-being, including family safety, health and economic stability.

PROCEDURES:

  1. The Family Partnership Agreement (FPA) will be outlined in the NOCAC Family Handbook and Calendar and will list all of the family service/partnership opportunities available to families throughout the program year.
  2. NOCAC Head Start/ECE will focus on family well-being which includes family safety, health, and economic stability, to support child learning and development, to provide, if applicable, services and supports for children with disabilities, and to foster parental confidence and skills that promote the early learning and development of their children.
  3. The FPA process is initiated as early in the program year as possible and continues for as long as the family participates in the program, based on parent interest and need.
  4. The FPA opportunities will/can be offered at Family Picnics, Family Fun Nights, Policy Council, Parent Committee Association meetings, “Bring Your” Nights, through newsletters, social media, and other newsprint.
  5. A Family Strengths and Needs Survey will be included in the Enrollment Packet to be completed by each family and returned to the teacher at the first home visit, before the start of the program year,
    1. The Teacher will collect the survey and give it to the Family Advocates.
    2. The survey will include questions that focus on the Head Start Parent Family and Community Engagement Framework, including family well-being, parent-child relationships, families as lifelong educators, families as learners, family engagement in transitions, family connections to peers and the local community, and families as advocates and leaders.
  6. The Family Advocate will meet with the Teacher for their first Monthly Family Progress Note meeting in early October and ongoing monthly.
  1. Based on selection criteria, the Family Strengths and Needs Survey, and observations from both the Family Advocate’s initial application home visit and the Teachers 1st home visit, the Family Advocate’s caseload will be determined.
  2. The Family Advocate’s will select the highest needs families to put on their caseload. Families on the Family Advocate’s caseload will receive the following services:
    1. Two in-depth Family Needs Assessments (FNA).
    2. This will be done at the beginning and end of the program year in order to measure gains a family makes as a result of being in the NOCAC Head Start/ECE program.
    3. After each FNA is completed, the Family Goals, Strengths and Supports form will be completed with families and will focus on family centered goal setting.
    4. As the family’s dynamics change, so can the caseload of the Family Advocate.
      1. Families who were in crisis at the start of the program year and become self sufficient may no longer need or desire to be on the caseload of the Family Advocate.
      2. Families who start self sufficient and run into crisis can be added to the Family Advocate’s caseload as needed to support the family.
    5. The Family Advocate will partner with any other social service agencies the family may be currently working with in order to not duplicate services.

Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.52
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    

 

Effective Date: 8/7/17 Revision Date: 8/7/17
Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council: 8/7/17