The NOCAC Head Start Policy Council is responsible for the direction of the Head Start program at the agency level. The program maintains a policy council in accordance with section 642(c)(2) of the Head Start Act.
Regular meetings are held monthly on the first Monday of the month. Special meetings may be called by the Director and/or Chairperson of the Policy Council during the program year and the summer months.
Policy Council Composition
- The policy council is elected by the parents of children who are currently enrolled in the Head Start program.
- The policy council is comprised of current parents of children who are enrolled in the Head Start program and community representatives.
- Current Head Start parents constitute at least 51% of the members of the policy council.
- Community representatives are drawn from the local community: businesses; public or private community, civic, and professional organizations; and others who are familiar with resources and services for low-income children and families, including parents of formerly enrolled children.
- Parents of children currently enrolled in each program option are proportionately represented.
- The program ensures members of the policy council do not have a conflict of interest with the Head Start program and sign a conflict of interest form at the November meeting.
- a. Members of the policy council do not receive compensation for serving on the policy council or for providing services to the Head Start program.
- b. No employee or their immediate family shall serve on the policy council in a voting capacity. Staff members may attend the meetings of the policy council or committees in a consultative, reporting non-voting capacity.
- All parent members of the policy council must be elected or re-elected annually. All community representatives also must be recommended by the director and elected annually.
- All parents and community representatives are limited to one-year terms for a combined total of five terms.
- Policy Council meetings are open to all parents and interested individuals without voting privileges.
- Each county shall be represented by parent representatives of 5% of the total number of children served in that county. The standard form of rounding will be used when a whole number is not available.
- Policy Council parent representatives will be elected by the Parent Committee at each site in each County in September and ongoing as necessary.
- The total number of parent representatives will be based on the actual enrollment in each option in a given year. The Family & Community Engagement Manager will calculate the composition based on enrollment and the number of representatives will be made known to each Parent Committee prior to elections. Only current Head Start parents can be members of the Parent Committees and only those members can vote for the Policy Council parent representatives.
- In addition to the regular Policy Council members, each site will elect at least 1 alternate to serve in the event that one of the regular members is unable to serve.
- Community representatives can come from the local community; businesses; public or private community, civic and professional organizations; and others who are familiar with resources and services for low income children and families. Former Head Start parents may also be community representatives.
- Perspective community representatives are brought to the policy council by a recommendation from the Head Start Director. The policy council group must vote for the community representatives to be seated.
- The elected Community Representatives join the Council with equal rights and responsibilities.
- Election of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Corresponding Secretary will be held in October. They shall hold that position for one year, being available for specially called meetings during the program year and/or the summer. This is the Executive Committee.
- Holding an office in the local Parent Committee will not prohibit parents from holding an office on the Policy Council.
Governing Body Representative
- One person shall be elected to serve as the Head Start Policy Council representative to the Board of Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission, annually, at the time of Policy Council elections, and may not serve more than two consecutive years (24 months). If the Policy Council Board representative resigns, a new Board Representative for Policy Council must be elected by Policy Council. The Policy Council representative is a voting member of the NOCAC Board.
- One Board Representative will be appointed by the NOCAC Board to serve on Policy Council. Who is this?
- Quorum is established when 30% of Policy Council members are present. The quorum must consist of at least 51% of the current parents for any business requiring Policy Council approval. If a quorum is not present and critical business must be taken care of, accomplishment of the critical business shall be done by the Regulatory Committee where minutes will be taken and presented at the next Policy Council meeting. If no quorum is present, a phone conference will be conducted to verify approval of critical business.
- All motions will be carried by the simple majority. A secret ballot will be issued only upon request.
Hiring and Termination of Staff
- Hiring: After the NOCAC Head Start Director or their designee have interviewed the applicants being considered for employment the Head Start Director will review the information with the NOCAC Executive Director and indicate the applicant they feel is bet qualified to fill the open position. The Head Start Director will review the credentials and experience of the applicants that were interviewed at the next full Policy Council meeting.
- Termination: The NOCAC Head Start Director will review the documentation with the NOCAC Executive Director. The NOCAC Executive Director and the NOCAC Head Start Director will make the decision to terminate. The NOCAC Head Start Director will discuss his/her recommendation to terminate the employee with the full Policy Council.
- The following committees are formed from Policy Council members: Regulatory Committee, Education Committee, Health & Safety Committee, Family & Community Engagement Committee, Mental Health & Disabilities Committee, and Data Outcomes Committee.
- The Policy Council Chairperson may call for a majority vote on removal of members that do not regularly attend committee meetings.
- Committees shall have a minimum of fifty-one (51%) percent membership of current Head Start parents.
- Minutes and attendance are to be taken at all committee meetings.
Removal of Members
- If The Policy Council feels that a member is not contributing to the Policy Council (e.g., a large number of excused absences or the member is acting in a way that is detrimental to the council), the Policy Council may vote to remove the member. In cases of removal due to lack of attendance, the Chairperson may call a vote. If the member is a current parent, the Parent Committee that they represented must be notified of removal and the Parent Committee must elect a new representative.
- If a Parent Committee feels a representative is not functioning on behalf of their interests, a vote must be taken at a regularly scheduled parent committee meeting to remove the representative. Policy Council must be notified of removal and the Parent Committee must elect a new representative.
- Any Policy Council member may resign by submitting a written resignation to the Policy Council Chairperson with a copy to the Director or by missing 2 scheduled meetings without an approved excuse.
- Any Policy Council member found to have breached confidentiality in any way shall be voted on for removal.
Policy Council Responsibilities
- The Policy Council is responsible for approving and submitting to the governing body decisions about:
- Activities to support the active involvement of parents in supporting program operations, including policies to ensure that the Head Start agency is responsive to community and parent needs.
- Program recruitment, selection, and enrollment priorities.
- Applications for funding and amendments to applications for funding for programs, prior to submission of applications.
- Budget planning for program expenditures, including policies for reimbursement and participation in policy council activities.
- Bylaws for the operation of the policy council.
- Program personnel policies and decisions regarding the employment of program staff, regarding the hiring, evaluation, compensation, and termination of the Executive Director, Head Start Director, Director of Human Resources, Chief Fiscal Officer, and any other person in an equivalent position with the agency, including standards of conduct for program staff, contractors, and volunteers and criteria for the employment and dismissal of program staff.
- Developing procedures for how members of the policy council of the Head Start agency will be elected.
- The program submits the following status reports determined by ongoing oversight data to the policy council:
- monthly financial statements, including credit card expenditures;
- monthly program information summaries;
- program enrollment reports, including attendance reports;
- monthly reports of meals and snacks provided through CACFP;
- the financial audit;
- the annual self-assessment, including any findings related to such assessment;
- the community-wide strategic planning and needs assessment of the Head Start agency, including any applicable updates;
- communication and guidance from the Office of Head Start; and
- the program information reports.
Reimbursement for Reasonable Expenses
- Policy council members can be reimbursed mileage to and from the meeting at the rate per mile that the agency pays staff. Childcare is offered on site for children of the policy council members. Childcare can be reimbursed if the child is in the care of another provider who is not living in the home.
Program Governance Training
- To ensure the members understand the information they receive and can effectively oversee and participate in the Head Start program, the program provides appropriate training and technical assistance to the Policy Council in November which includes:
- Training on program performance standards and eligibility to include:
- methods on how to collect complete and accurate eligibility information from families and third party sources;
- strategies for treating families with dignity and respect and for dealing with possible issues of domestic violence, stigma, and privacy;
- program policies and procedures that describe actions taken against staff, families, or participants who attempt to provide or intentionally provide false information.
- After the initial training, the program provides training as the need arises. The Policy Council binder is distributed to members at the orientation in November.
- If there is a disagreement between the Director, Policy Council, and/or Regulatory Committee, any hiring or termination will be delayed until the issue is settled. A meeting must be held within seven calendar days of the disputed decision.
- The meeting will consist of the following people: Regulatory Committee of Policy Council, Director, Executive Director, and Moderator.
- The Moderator will chair the meeting. All sides of the issue will be presented. The Moderator will attempt to resolve the issues to the mutual satisfaction of all parties.
- Head Start grantees must inform the responsible ACF Regional Office as soon as possible after becoming aware that there is a conflict between the grantee agency and the Policy Council, especially those which, if not resolved, could lead to termination, or denial of refunding, of the Head Start grant. This notification must be made within ten (10) days of the grantee becoming aware of the conflict and in the case of a Policy Council proposing to not approve the grantee’s refunding application, such notification must be made at least 90 days prior to the grantee’s refunding date. If the situation leading to the Policy Council’s decision to withhold its approval occurs within 90 days of the grantee’s refunding date, the grantee must notify its responsible Regional Office immediately.
- The Regional Administrator, or a Regional staff member designated by the Regional Administrator, will hold one or more meetings, as appropriate, which the Grantee’s Executive Director, the Grantee’s Head Start Director and the Policy Council Chairperson are required to attend. The attendance of grantee board members at any meeting is encouraged. The purpose of these meetings is to attempt to resolve the issues to the mutual satisfaction of all parties and thus avoid the possibility of an adverse action against the grantee.
- If the meetings are not successful in resolving the issues between the grantee and the Policy Council, the grantee should, within 10 days of the meeting, submit the dispute to the offices of a professional mediator. The Regional Office will provide assistance to the grantee in selecting a mediator. The grantee is requested to advise the Regional Office of the time and location of the first scheduled meeting. The grantee and the Policy Council are expected to attend any meetings requested by the mediator.
- If the conflict relates to the grantee’s refunding, the mediation process must be completed 15 days prior to the grantee’s refunding date unless the mediator has indicated to the Regional Office, in writing, that additional time for mediation will likely result in a successful resolution of the conflict, in which case the Regional Administrator may extend the current Head Start grant. The refusal of either party to engage in a mediation process shall be taken into consideration by the AFC Regional Office in determining what course of action is warranted.
Forms and Additional Guidance:
This policy complies with the following
Head Start Program Performance Standard
ODJFS Child Care Manual
Caring for Our Children
Head Start Act 642 (c)(2)
Approved by Policy Council:
Revision Approved by PC: