San Juan Head Start in compliance with regulations
San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo
By THE STAR STAFF
San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo announced Wednesday that after months of intense work, his administration has seen to it that the municipality’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs are in compliance with the regulations of the Administration for Children and Families of the Office of Head Start.
The mayor said the compliance is clear from the report dated Jan. 11, 2023 and signed by Tala Hooban, director of the Office of Head Start, after the most recent monitoring carried out by the agency at the Focus One area of the San Juan Head Start and Early Head Start programs from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, 2022.
“Education is a pillar of the public policy plan established by my administration for the Capital City, so the findings of compliance in the performance and operation of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs beginning the year not only fills me with great satisfaction and joy, it is also an encouragement for me, and the great work team that accompanies me, to continue making a difference for the benefit of our people, through healthy and responsible public administration,” Romero Lugo said.
The mayor specified that the audit highlighted how the municipality managed to maintain continuous recruitment for the programs through an external media campaign, thereby benefiting eligible families.
“An important part of this monitoring process is that it highlights how the municipality established and developed a budget review process that ensured that program funds will be used to address established priorities,” the mayor said. “Fiscal and program staff, as well as the governing body and policy council, regularly reviewed the data to keep abreast of any changing needs and budgeted funds accordingly. For example, when the program identified the need to improve its technological capacity, the recipient identified and allocated funds to provide internet services at all of its centers. This enhancement strengthened the program’s capacity to collect and use data. By aligning funds with the needs of the program, we were able to strengthen services to our children and their families.”
Currently, Head Start and Early Head Start in San Juan provide services to 1,030 children, their families and pregnant women in communities with the greatest need. Services include education services, as well as support for the development of cultural activities, and financial education, among other things.
The main findings of the federal monitoring revealed that, at present in the management of the program, the municipal administration demonstrated that it possesses an approach to provide effective oversight of all program areas and fiduciary responsibilities. Similarly, the San Juan administration showed that it maintains a formal structure for the governance of the program and the management of the grant it receives, which includes a governing body, a policy council or policy committee for delegates, and parent committees.
The audited period also shows that the Municipality of San Juan designed a program that responds to local needs, for which it analyzed the community and parents, to understand the needs of families. In response, full-day services were offered in centers located in public housing projects and other family-friendly areas, while seeking to sustain economic improvement.
“Through his informed approach, the grantee ensured that families in its community had access to comprehensive early education and family support services,” the report said.