The Policy Council is a group of Head Start and Early Head Start parents and community members who help lead and make decisions about their program. Policy Council members are elected by the parents of children enrolled in the program. Parents often join the Policy Council after serving on a parent committee. The Policy Council meets regularly as a group. Members can serve for one year at a time, and for up to five years. They work closely with the program's management team and governing body to provide overall direction for the program.
The Policy Council is the formal structure through which parents can participate in policymaking and operation of the program. The Policy Council is composed of one representative and one alternate from each parent committee, as well as community representatives from community fields such as: social services, health, education, and past parents. Head Start believes that participation in the Policy Council is a perfect opportunity for parents to become deeply involved in program decision-making and in developing activities that benefit families and children.
Some of the important duties of Policy Council include:
initiate ideas for program improvement
approve and carry out the Personnel Policies and Procedures
assist in preparation of grant applications
assist in coordinating and utilizing community resources
participate in program planning and evaluation
Parents from all Head Start centers and Early Head Start are elected by their parent group each year to be a part of the Policy Council, which is an important decision making body in the agency. Policy Council members are trained in leadership, information gathering and analyzing, and decision making and communication skills. The council meets monthly to vote on major program issues and set direction for our program. Representatives from the Policy Council also attend Executive Board meetings. The Executive Board has legal and fiscal responsibility for the Head Start program.
An orientation and ongoing trainings are provided for parents elected to Policy Council to help them prepare for these duties and responsibilities.
Participation in Policy Council provides for parent involvement into every part of Head Start. Sharing in the decision-making process allows parents to really feel they have a significant influence in our program.