Head Start Policy Council

What is the Policy Council?

Policy Council is the governing body of a Head Start Program and acts as the parents voice in making major decisions for the program.

Policy Council is comprised of parents/guardians of currently enrolled children and representatives of the community to make up the voting members. Parents are selected by election to represent their sites.

Members from the community are also elected to the Policy Council as Community Representatives- these can be past parents, community partners and school board representatives.

Why is there Policy Council?

Head Start Performance Standards require that every Head Start Program have a Parent Policy Council.  In order for a Head Start program to continue to receive Federal funding there must be an active Policy Council.

What does parent policy council do?

The Parent Policy Council works in collaboration with the Head Start Director to govern the Head Start program through what is called Shared Governance.  At Parent Policy Council meetings representatives review, share input, and vote on matters such as:

  • Personnel Reports (including serving on committees to interview new staff)
  • Financial Reports (to provide accountability to the program)
  • Changes in policies (so that all views may be shared, and all have input)
  • as well as other responsibilities

Policy Council must work in partnership with key management and the Board of Directors to develop, review and approve policies, strategic directions, criteria for the recruitment, selection and enrollment of children, funding applications, personnel and other business orientated activities that requires Policy Council’s approval. A governance flow chart helps link management, Board and Policy Council responsibilities together.

Policy Council puts the parent in the leadership position. It opens up the situation to where the parent says, “Yes, I can have a voice in some of what’s happening to my life, my community, my children, my family, my child’s education.

Serving on the Policy Council is an honor and wonderful way to be involved in your child’s education.