April 2023 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association 

Letter from the Executive Director 

In Florida, April is recognized as Prevent Child Abuse Month. This proclamation comes from Governor Ron DeSantis, showing our state's commitment to improving the lives of all children and families. I had the pleasure of attending a press conference hosted by the Florida Department of Children and Families on Friday, March 30, 2023, with Secretary Shevaun Harris, Prevent Child Abuse Florida, the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, along with various agencies and organizations who elevate the importance of creating systems and programs that put children and families first.  

Head Start has a standard of conduct for staff reporting child abuse and neglect. Head Start also has health and safety standards for ensuring children are safe and protected. We are known for our work in creating effective partnerships with child welfare agencies to ensure the protection and safety of children. As you drive around your local community this month, I ask that you pay attention to the blue pinwheels twirling, which signify the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect through collaboration, prevention services, and support. If you would like to participate in these efforts, please reach out to Prevent Child Abuse Florida 

April also marks volunteer appreciation month. FHSA could not do what it does without the generosity of the volunteers that make up this organization. Many hands make light work, and it certainly takes a lot of hands to keep an association moving forward. To that end, I want to thank our board of directors and all of our volunteers serving on committees for their enthusiastic forward-thinking voice, which keeps FHSA pushing forward into our 24th year of reinforcing the vital work you do every day in providing high-quality early childhood development services, education and care to Florida's most at-risk children and families. Committees are an integral part of what makes an organization successful. If you have been considering volunteering, what are you waiting for? Take a moment and check out the various committees just waiting for talented and engaging members to join. 

In Fellowship, 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director 

Office of Head Start Updates

Addressing Lead in Water in Head Start Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are committed to working together toward a shared vision of a lead-free future for children and families across the United States. On March 24, 2023, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and EPA Administrator Michael Regan issued a joint letter to governors encouraging them to leverage all available resources to ensure young children are not exposed to lead in water in those places where many young children spend a great deal of time — early care and education programs. 

Head Start programs have a critical role in preventing lead poisoning in children. Programs must maintain facilities free from toxins, ensure children are screened for lead poisoning, and partner with families to promote children’s healthy development. 

Other Resources:

Help Us Welcome the New Director of the Office of Head Start, Khari Garvin 

Khari Garvin is the director of the Office of Head Start (OHS) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He has more than 20 years of national, state, and local experience designing and leading systems serving children and families in low-income communities. Before joining the Biden-Harris administration, Garvin served as the president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Greensboro in North Carolina. 
Garvin has modeled service at every level of Head Start programming. He served as the executive director for a large, multi-state Head Start grant recipient serving children in rural communities across five states in the Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, and Great Plains regions of the U.S. As the director of North Carolina’s Head Start Collaboration Office, he convened 55 affiliate grant recipient organizations — including public school systems, community action agencies, county governments, and private nonprofits — that served over 28,000 children and families in all 100 counties. 

Garvin is a proud alumnus of the National Head Start Fellowships program, where he worked at OHS. He previously served as a Head Start program manager in Illinois and as assistant Head Start/Early Head Start director at a program in North Carolina. Garvin holds a degree in psychology from Emory University and a master’s degree in education from Southern Illinois University. 

ACF Announces the Return of the National Head Start Fellowship Program 

On March 23, 2023, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through Office of Head Start (OHS), announced the return of the National Head Start Fellowship Program.  

This highly competitive leadership opportunity for local Head Start program staff and the early childhood sector provides a unique opportunity to gain first-hand national policy and programmatic experience by working in ACF’s Washington, DC office for one year. Click here to learn more about this opportunity. 

Children's Week 2023 Recap
Children's Week 2023

FHSA would like to give a huge shout-out to those programs that traveled to Tallahassee and participated in Children's Week activities March 26-31. 

  • Children First
  • Children's Home Society 
  • Lutheran Services Florida 
  • Mid Florida Community Services Inc. Head Start & Early Head Start 
  • North Florida Child Development, Inc. 
  • Orange County Head Start 

Thank you to all the Head Start/Early Head Start programs that sent in their hand artwork displayed at the Capitol during the week. Children's week wouldn't be the same without it. 

FHSA State Honorees Recognized 
by National Head Start Association

FHSA is thrilled to announce that two of our state honorees will be recognized nationally by the National Head Start Association. Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD), in partnership with Reach Out and Read Florida and Philip Tavill, President & CEO of Children First, Inc. in Sarasota, FL, joins a list of highly accomplished leaders making notable and significant contributions in our State to help improve the lives of at-risk children and families. 

The Edward Zigler Innovation Award- This award is presented to a program honoring the work of Dr. Edward Zigler's collaborative efforts to create high-impact services for children and families. Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD) and Reach Out and Read Florida are being recognized for their collaborative efforts in connecting critical stakeholders in the community, medical providers, community partners, public health leaders, advocates, and the general community to address the shared mission of building strong family relationships and breaking barriers in accessing quality care. Over the past four years, the program has collaborated with Reach Out and Read (ROR) Florida to identify and strategically work with medical providers serving the most vulnerable children in their community to receive children's books and resources.  

Sargent Shriver Excellence in Community Service Award celebrates a significant organizational achievement in poverty alleviation, early education, or community health. Philip Tavill, President and CEO of Children's First, is being recognized for his innovative achievement in the Sarasota community through fulfilling Sargent Shriver's vision of providing wrap-around support for young children and their families. Children's First offers high-quality comprehensive and family-strengthening services to hundreds of children, ages birth to five years, and their family members. Philip Tavill was recently honored for 25 years of service to our community as CEO of Children First and for his commitment to transforming the lives of children and families. 

We hope you plan to join us in Phoenix, AZ, where these winners will be recognized during NHSA Head Start Conference Awards Ceremony on May 10, 2023, in Phoenix, AZ. Click here to view FHSA Press Release in its entirety. 

From left to right. Natalia Coletti and Lisa Blair with ROR; Dr. Sabrina Tassey-Lewis, Cassandra Alexander-Macon, Dr. Maite Riestra-Quintero with CAHSD, Shamella Harmon, Orange County Head Start, and Philip Tavill, Children First

Submit a Presentation Proposal for the 2023 One Goal Summer Conference

This year, the ONE GOAL: BUILDING THE FUTURE TOGETHER “PUTTING FAMILIES AND CHILDREN FIRST” Summer Conference will celebrate 36 years of bringing together early education and care providers and leaders from around the state. 

The conference will be held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown in Tampa, Florida, on July 19-21, 2023.  The conference will include general sessions, concurrent presentations, and exhibits. 

FHSA is a sponsor and part of the planning committee and invites our Head Start community to submit a proposal to present.  The conference currently needs sessions geared towards Collaboration and Screenings/Assessments/Evaluations and Cultural Diversity/Multicultural Education. Click here to view the electronic version of the Presenter Proposal Form. The deadline for proposal submission is April 7, 2023. The Planning Committee will review all proposals and notify the primary presenter of acceptance or non-acceptance. 

The primary presenter conference registration fee will be waived. All co-presenters will need to register and pay the $125 registration fee. All presenters are responsible for making their hotel reservations and for any other expenses incurred. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Conference Coordinator, Frankie Allen, at (850) 893-6270 or email: [email protected].

COVID Vaccine Mandate Halted for All Head Start Programs

April 4, 2023

The COVID vaccine mandate for Head Start and Early Head Start staff has been struck down nationwide. Response from the Administration forthcoming. Read More

Don’t Forget to Register for the National Head Start Conference

The Office of Head Start Director Khari Garvin plans to join NHSA in Phoenix, AZ, May 8-11, 2023, for their 50th annual Head Start Conference.  What you can expect: 

  • Informative sessions led by experts in the field of early childhood.
  • Thought-provoking discussions with your Head Start and Early Head Start colleagues from around the country.
  • Inspiring speakers delivering cutting-edge ideas about how we can best deliver on the promise of Head Start and Early Head Start.

Click here to view conference schedule. 


Welcome, ...

...to the Monthly Newsletter! With this email, you'll receive all of the top updates from FHSA, as well as new features. To login to your account make sure you've got your username and password handy! 

Your username is and you can update your password by clicking here. 

You are a member of the following member type: .

Three Things Heightening Head Start Awareness

Upcoming Events


06: Apprenticeships in ECE: Getting Started

06: Promoting Substance Use Recovery through Community Partnerships  

06: Responding to Infant-Toddler Persistent Challenging Behavior  

12: Prioritizing Funding Wages 

12: Protecting Young Children from Hearing Loss (English)  

12:  Home Visiting: Promoting Problem-Solving Skills in Young Children 

13: Exploring On-Campus Childcare Solutions: Head Start and Community College Partnerships  

13: Jornadas de esperanza y valor: Utilización de la técnica del relato para forjar relaciones  

18: Region IV TTA Network | Emergencies: Prepare, Respond, & Recover

18: Office of Head Start (OHS) Webcast: Grant Closeouts and Unobligated Balances 

19: Region IV TTA Network | Emergencies: Prepare, Respond, & Recover 

19: FHSA Professional Development Committee

19: Florida Head Start Free Music Class

19: Strength-Based Approaches to Talking About Substance Us

24: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation National Office Hours 

26 - 27 Region IV TTA Network | Family Engagement: Networking with the Stars 


Member Information

Change of address, email or any information? You will need to login to your profile in our organization. Your username is

Important Links







Khari Garvin, Director at the Office of Head Start 

FHSA Lunch & Learn

Join Us for FREE Zoom Music Classes 

FHSA Free Music Classes 2023 Schedule
FHSA Member Benefit Discounted Pricing
Teachstone CDA Class On Demand
Teachstone CDA Class Facilitated

FHSA has partnered with Teachstone to deliver FHSA members access to their on-demand and/or facilitated CDA with CLASS® program with discounted membership pricing now through September 30, 2023.

FHSA Awards Submissions Opening Soon



Legislative Bills FHSA is Monitoring 


Click the link below to see what legislation NHSA is tracking. 


Join your State Association:  FHSA provides members with access to tools, resources, and collaborative relationships empowering your agency's management team, staff, and parents. FHSA offers Individual and Corporate memberships too!

Support your State Association: Help FHSA ensure Florida programs are supported through professional opportunities, research efforts, and legislation so they can continue to provide high-quality services to Florida's most at-risk children and families. 

 Florida Head Start Association
111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 694-6477
[email protected]