Three more Head Start programs in California must compete for grant funding that has previously been renewed in a non-competitive process: Colusa County, an hour north of Sacramento; El Dorado County, which stretches from Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe; and Kedren Community Health Center in Los Angeles.

This is the second round of a funding competition spurred by the 2007 Head Start Re-authorization Act in an attempt to raise the quality of Head Start programs. Yet another Head Start study, released in December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has found that the positive effects of Head Start often fade by the time children reach third grade. The 122 programs across the country that were pegged for re-competition in this round “had their licenses revoked, had fiscal or management issues preventing them from properly managing federal funds, or had deficiencies discovered in their on-site federal monitoring review,” according to an announcement by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Programs that had scores in the lowest 10 percent on a classroom quality measure also made the list. Now, all of these established Head Start programs will be competing against individual centers and other organizations in their regions for available funding. The amount of Head Start funding and of children served in California is expected to stay the same, it just might not be the same organizations providing care.

Los Angeles County, Contra Costa County and a San Francisco-based program submitted applications in the first round of the competition, along with 129 other agencies nationwide. The results were originally expected in December 2012, but they have been postponed to this spring.

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