« PreviousContinue »
Mr. WILLIAMS. Mr. Chairman, you will remember that when this proposal was presented to the Governors early in February, they reacted extremely favorably to this idea. I think our interest is very much in exploring further this whole idea. Ms. GALL. One
of the greatest frustrations folks in the child welfare services community have is that we have lots of pots of money. We have abandoned infants here, we have our youth gang/drug treatment pots of money over here. We have all kinds of pots of money, and they spend one-half their time filling out forms.
Senator HARKIN. The things you just mentioned are not really part of the proposal to be consolidated.
Ms. GALL. We are talking about SSBG and a number of other types of funding, and anything we can pool to help address those concerns we would support.
If I may put a plug in, I think those are the kinds of things we need to be thinking about with other programs as well.
Senator HARKIN. There is one last one that I want to cover, shifting from kids to the elderly. There is a bill pending that I hope will get through all right. It is the Older Americans Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Act, one of a package of bills I introduced focusing on prevention.
It expands part F of the Older Americans Act to establish a State grants program that would provide disease prevention and health promotion services and information at senior citizen centers, congregate meal sites and things like that, home meals, Meals on Wheels. Again, it is prevention and health promotion.
The administration has never requested funding for part F of the Older Americans Act, which is health prevention for older Americans. Do you feel that these services are important? Do you feel that you might be requesting some money for expansion of part F? That is, prevention and health promotion.
Ms. GALL. As you know, Mr. Chairman, health promotion and disease prevention is one of Dr. Sullivan's prime goals in addressing all our age groups. We very much support dealing with our aging population.
Those kinds of activities can be carried out under our existing authorities and, in fact, many of our area agencies do, in fact, do those kinds of activities under existing authority. This, coupled with some of the elder care components that our Commissioner of the Administration on Aging has undertaken we feel will address those issues along with nutrition.
Senator HARKIN. I have been at I do not know how many congregate meal sites. I have worked days on home delivered meals and Meals on Wheels. I have been to senior citizen centers all over lowa. With one exception, which was not a senior citizen center but a day-care center for the elderly, I never saw any kind of prevention or health promotion activities at all. None.
Ms. GALL. I will be sure to pass that along to the Commissioner. First of all, she will be delighted that you visited all those
Senator HARKIN. I did not visit them all. I visited most of them. Ms. GALL. I will pass that information along to her so she can take a look at that.
Senator HARKIN. There needs to be an active outreach program of prevention. Now there may be instances and isolated cases in some cities where I have not been where they do take blood pressure tests, where they do cholesterol checks and things like that, but there is no coordinated, concerted effort throughout the whole program to do that. There may be, as I say, individuals in certain communities that understand the benefit of that and do that on their own.
Ms. GALL. That is a very popular activity with most of our areas offices on aging, I should tell you. That is something that we see routinely in our programs, but I will be happy to pass that along specifically to the Commissioner.
Senator HARKIN. I want to pass on to you that we need some funding for expansion of part F to expand those services.
I have some questions from Senator Adams, but we will just put those in the record.
That is all I have. Thank you very much.
Senator HARKIN. As you can see, we have an intense interest in the Head Start Program. We will be pursuing that with you as the months go by, and you will get those figures to us?
Ms. GALL. Yes, we would be happy to work with you on that, and we appreciate your interest very much. Thank you.
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much.
There will be some additional questions which will be submitted for your response in the record.
[The following questions were not asked at the hearing, but were submitted to the Department for response subsequent to the hearing:)
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE
COST OF LIVING
Question. We have several concerns relating to the implementation of the 1990 reauthorization of Head Start. creating the quality set-aside, the reauthorization bill was careful to protect the program's ability to maintain current service levels. Section 105 of PL 101-501 specifically states that before the Secretary can use funding increases to expand the number of children served by the program, he must ensure that allocations to existing programs are sufficient to maintain the previous years service level, accounting for inflation. Please explain why the Administration's FY 1992 budget proposal outlines its intention to use increases to serve additional children and not to provide an inflation adjustment so that existing programs can meet rising costs
such as rent, heat and supplies?
Answer. Funds from the FY 1992 requested budget increase will be available for grantees to maintain the current levels of service in their programs. Section 105 of PL 101-501 does not mandate a standard cost-of-living increase for all Head Start programs. Instead, it requires that the Secretary shall not increase enrollment in FY 1992 without first assuring that grantees have sufficient funds to maintain FY 1991 service levels. This will be accomplished by allowing grantees to use funds from their FY 1992 increase to maintain services, before they add new children to their programs. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, since the amount of funds that will be needed to maintain service levels will vary depending on each program's particular circumstances.
Question. Under the new Head Start reauthorization, 25% of the monies above the cost-of-living increase are to be available for a "Quality Reserve." Inasmuch as the budget request is just short of (about $11.2 million) the cost-of-living, did you make a conscious decision to ignore the Quality Reserve Provisions in the new authorization?
Answer. No, there was no intention to avoid the Quality Reserve Provisions. The FY 1992 request of $100 million represents as large an increase as can be justified given the current funding constraints and the necessity to comply with the terms of last year's budget accord agreed to by the President and the Congress.
Question. According to your statement, the FY 1992 budget request will allow Head Start to serve 59 percent of disadvantaged children in the year before they enter school. Congress does not accept that Head Start is a program designed for a single age group, as evidenced by the passage of the reauthorization of the Head Start program last year. What is the percentage of all eligible children being served?
Answer. In past years, we often expressed the number of children served by Head Start was often expressed as the percentage of the income eligible three to five year-old children who were enrolled in Head Start in a given year. If this approach were used in FY 1992, it would appear that Head Start is only serving 22 percent of the eligible population.'
However, we believe this gives an inaccurately low picture of the number of children Head Start actually reaches. For example, almost all of the five year-olds can never be served by Head Start because they are in kindergarten. We believe it is more useful and realistic to state, as we did in the budget statement, that 59 percent of children will be served by Head Start, for one or more years, before they enter school.
While the budget statement assumes that most Head Start children will be served for one year, as has always been the case, it does not assume all Head Start children will be served for only one year. It should be noted that serving all the income eligible three and four year-olds does not increase the number of eligible children who would be served by Head Start but, rather, increases the time for which these children would be served, i.e. two years.
Question. Substantial increases have been made over the last two years in the Head Start program. Are there sufficient numbers of qualified personnel on which grantees can draw to staff new and expanded Head Start programs?
Answer. Yes. The requirement in the new Head Start legislation that every Head Start teacher have a child Development Associate (CDA) credential does not take effect until September 30, 1994. Thus, programs are still able to recruit staff from many sources, including local community residents, and train those which are not fully qualified. It does not appear that Head Start programs have had problems finding sufficient staff to implement the FY 1990 expansion nor do we anticipate problems finding staff to assure full implementation of the FY 1991 expansion. We cannot predict, at this point, the impact that the 1994 credential requirement will have on the ability of Head Start programs to hire staff.
Question. What steps have been taken to meet new statutory requirements related to improving the quality of Head Start programs, including the requirement that all Head Start classrooms have a teacher with a child Development Associate credential by the end of FY 1994?
Answer. In FY 1991, $195,180,000 in increased funding to help maintain or improve the quality of Head Start services is being provided to Head Start grantees. As required by statute, most of these funds are being allotted to grantees in proportion to the number of children they serve. Fifteen million dollars will be awarded competitively for special quality improvement projects to help grantees address the needs of families with special problems, such as substance abuse.
We are continuing our efforts to increase the number of teachers with Child Development Associate (CDA), or equivalent,
qualifications. All Head Start grantees have been made aware of the new statutory requirement and are expected to be in full compllance by that time. We will continue to support the CDA credentialing effort, under a cooperative agreement with the Council for Early Childhood Professional Development. We have recently revised the credentialing process to allow candidates more flexibility in preparing for the CDA credential. We will also continue to make an estimated $8 million a year available to grantees to pay the costs of CDA training. It is our judgement that grantees, in recent years, have made commendable progress in improving the qualifications of classroom staff. In 1990 approximately 82 percent of all Head start teachers had a CDA or other qualifying credential.
Other statutory requirements related to program quality are being implemented. The announcement requesting applications for Head Start Transition grants and expansion of Parent Child Center projects will be published in the Federal Register in the coming months. Training and technical assistance funds have been increased to the full amount required by statute.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE SCHOLARSHIP
Question. How effective is the Child Development Agsociate Scholarship Program in providing training and recruiting individuals into the Head Start program?
Answer: Beginning in FY 1991, the CDA Scholarship Assistance Program authorizes States to use up to 35 percent of their annual CDA allocation to provide scholarship assistance to economically eligible individuals to cover the cost of CDA training necessary for CDA credentialing. It is expected that the availability of these training funds will have a positive impact in recruiting individuals into the field of early childhood education, including Head Start.
Question. Do you plan to use any of the training monies available under Head Start to provide scholarships to train new Head Start teachers?
Answer. As in the past, local Head Start agencies will use their training and technical assistance funds to provide training for Head Start staff, including new teachers.
SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT
Question. Beginning in FY 1982, the Social Services Block Grant was formed by replacing Grants to States for Social Services, Child Care, and State and local training and retraining. The argument used at the time of the consolidation was that this would give States more flexibility. What we did give the states was fewer dollars. After ten years, funding for programs that make up the Social Services Block Grant is still $100 million below what it was in FY 1981.
Now, here we are again. The FY 1992 budget identifies $21 billion in grants from five major policy areas for possible turnover to State and local governments as part of a single block grant. The Social Services Block Grant is one of the programs identified for consolidation. What would be the impact on social service programs were the Social Services Block Grant to be folded