U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to Chairman George Miller and the Committee on Education and Labor regarding the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation into improper practices by Head Start grantees. The investigation is the subject of the Committee’s upcoming hearing. Secretary Sebelius’ letter outlines HHS’s plans and steadfast commitment to upholding the integrity of this critical program.
The actions listed include:
- In the coming weeks the Office of Head Start will begin unannounced visits to Head Start centers as part of its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts.
- Development of new regulations to tighten verification and eligibility procedures.
- Strengthen efforts to identify grantees at risk for failing to meet program requirements.
- Require at-risk programs to mitigate those risks.
- Creating a web-based “hotline” at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) website to enable citizens to alert to suspected fraud or misuse.
- Implementation of the “re-competition” provisions of the Head Start reauthorization legislation so that, even when immediate suspension or termination is not in order, grantees with lapses in their financial practices or in the quality of services they provide are forced to compete against other organizations for Head Start funding.
For a complete copy of the letter and more details, please visit: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/05/20100517d.html