A bill to amend the Head Start Act to authorize block grants to States for prekindergarten education, and for other purposes.

Introduced in Senate
Head Start Improvement Act of 2017

This bill amends the Head Start Act to replace the existing Head Start program
with block grants to states and Indian tribes for prekindergarten (pre-K)

Instead of providing direct financial assistance to Head Start agencies, the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shall allot block grant funds for
pre-K education among eligible states and Indian tribes in accordance with their
relative proportions of children, age five and younger, from low-income
households. Grant recipients shall use the grant funds to: (1) award subgrants
to eligible entities that provide pre-K education programs; (2) administer such
programs; and (3) provide technical assistance, oversight, monitoring, research,
and training.

Under current law, HHS is authorized to designate, monitor, and establish
standards for Head Start agencies. The bill instead shifts pre-K program
oversight and control to states and Indian tribes, which shall have full
flexibility to use grant funds to finance the pre-K programs of their choice. In
addition, grant recipients may use grant funds to establish portable voucher
systems that allow costs to be paid for attendance at private pre-K education

Under current law, federal financial assistance for a Head Start program is
generally limited to 80% of total program costs. The bill maintains this
limitation by requiring grant recipients to provide matching funds equal to 20%
of the grant amount.



  • Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

    Jan 23rd, 2017
  • Introduced in Senate

    Jan 23rd, 2017