Response to the Office of the Inspector General’s Report

In response to the report released today by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, NHSA’s Executive Director Yasmina Vinci released the following statement:

All Head Start managers, staff, partners, and families in every community nationwide believe children have the right to be safe. This includes preventing incidents and injuries, training all staff about best practices, speaking up about safety concerns, and reinforcing protocols that make reporting possible.

The report issued today by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is an important and routine part of government oversight designed to ensure all federally funded programs are run safely and efficiently. The report reviews and recommends changes to reporting protocols so Head Start can more effectively respond to challenges as they arise–and we support these recommendations.

Incidents like those detailed in the OIG report are rare in Head Start. However, each one must be taken seriously. In addition, we must take seriously the broader ideas for stronger reporting and safeguards that are identified in government reviews such as this one. We call on the Administration to accept the recommendations in the report. Doing so can help ensure every child Head Start serves has access to a safe and healthy environment where they can develop, grow, and reach their fullest potential.

Children are safer when we all work together to improve training and reporting. We appreciate the Inspector General’s important work and respect the role this report plays in furthering Head Start’s standards of safety and quality. We also appreciate the dedicated efforts of Head Start leaders in creating a culture of safety for children and families as well as their enduring commitment to continuous improvement.

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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