Parents in the Early Head Start/Head Start programs are encouraged to become actively involved in all aspects of children's learning, including program activities and curriculum. For example, parents may volunteer to help with specific classroom projects, read stories to children or provide assistance on a field trip.
Parents also have the opportunity to serve on their local Head Start Program Committee or on the county-wide Head Start Policy Council.
Head Start Program Committee: All enrolled parents/guardians are welcome and encouraged to attend monthly Program Committee meetings in their community. At these meetings, parents are encouraged to share ideas about program activities and to identify other areas of interest. In addition, participation in the Program Committee meetings provides parents an opportunity to become involved in the program curriculum.
Head Start Policy Council: The Policy Council is composed of parent representatives who are elected by parents at each of the local Program Committee meetings at the beginning of the program year, and representatives from community agencies within the Fairfax County Head Start service area who have been elected by the Head Start Policy Council. During monthly Policy Council meetings, members learn about changes and opportunities in the Fairfax County Head Start programs and have the opportunity to share their own insights.
The Role of the Program Committee Representative on the Head Start Policy Council:
- The Program Committee representative is a link between the local program committee and the Policy Council and ensures that Policy Council information is shared with the local Program Committee.
- The representative attends the monthly Policy Council meetings to receive information and program updates and reports back to the members of their individual Program Committees.
- The representative reviews, advises and participates in planning program goals and objectives, policies and procedures, program monitoring and program funding proposals.
- The Program Committee representative receives training in health, child development, special needs, nutrition, family services, advocacy and program governance.
If you are currently a family child care provider in Fairfax County and are interested in becoming involved as a provider in the Fairfax County Early Head Start program, you must have:
- A current county permit or state license.
- A minimum of a High School diploma, but be willing to obtain a CDA credential within 18 months of signing on with the Early Head Start program.
- Participate in the USDA Adult and Child Food Program.
- Experience working with infants and toddlers.
- Be located close to the families on the Early Head Start waiting list.
As an Early Head Start Family Child Care Provider, you will receive:
- Home visits, every other week, from a child care specialist in Fairfax County to answer questions and provide other support.
- Enrollment of children in the Early Head Start program.
- Training opportunities available exclusively to Early Head Start providers.
- Funds to obtain your CDA credential.
- Quality Enhancement Payment paid for each EHS child enrolled.
- Program materials provided, as needed, to meet Head Start Performance Standards.
- Access to a qualified nurse and nutritionist.
For more information on what is required for Early Head Start-designated providers, call 703-324-8290.
Head Start collaborates and coordinates with public and private organizations and agencies to improve the availability and quality of service to children and families in the program.
Established partnerships enhance services to ensure that the program is responding to the needs of the families and community in areas such as health, mental health, education, disabilities, nutrition and professional development.
Community volunteers offer their services in various areas of programming. This includes providing expertise for the Policy Council and Program Committees, as well as working in the classrooms with children to read and provide interactions with them during their play.
To become a volunteer, please contact Susan Goettl at 703-324-8004 or send an email.
To join a council or committee, please contact Jennifer Branch at 703-324-8290 or send an email.