Read the latest information in FHSA December 2021 newsletter

December 2021 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association                                                                                                                            


Help Support FHSA Actions by clicking the donate button.

Head Start Awareness Month Image

Preamble to the Final Rule on Vaccine and Mask Requirements


The Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) adds new provisions to the Head Start Program Performance Standards to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Head Start programs.


Click here to read the Preamble to the rule for more details about the research and data that supports HHS and ACF decisions.


CDC is recommending everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.

Click here for the most current updated from the CDC. 


Find a COVID-19 testing center near you. 

Letter from the Executive Director

Happy Holidays! As we approach the end of the year, I often take a moment to reflect on what happened during the year and evaluate what I have learned. Let me say I learned a lot this past year. With the ever-changing environment, I saw programs become very nimble in adapting to what has been thrown their way. The approach has always been what is best for the at-risk children and families Head Start serves and the staff Head Start employs. With the new standards for vaccination and masking requirements, FHSA is preparing to respond to the Office of Head Start Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) to elevate the challenges you face while still trying to comply with Florida State COVID-19 mandates and Federal law. FHSA will be here with you along the way as we navigate through these changes. OHS hosted a webinar earlier today, answering questions you all asked. I encourage you to download the slides if you could not attend the webinar.


I know everyone is dealing with a lot, and with the holidays approaching, it can feel overwhelming. Let's take a moment to remember why you started your career in Head Start. You want to make a difference with the children and families in your community by going that extra mile. You are empathic, making you a better teacher and more compassionate towards others. You accept diversity and embrace it.  Overall, you genuinely want to give families and kids the best possible start on their path to self-sufficiency.  That's why we chose Head Start is Heart Work for our 2022 annual conference theme. It embodies what you do each day and why Head Start has been around for 56 years providing the Head Start promise. We hope you will join us in March!


FHSA wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. We appreciate you and all your work for Florida families and kiddos. 


Stay well, 

Wanda Minick, Executive Director



FHSA 2022 Annual Conference Logo

Securing a Corporate Partners package or Sponsorship is one of the best ways to brand your organization as an industry leader and highlight your commitment to the Head Start industry.

As a sponsor you can expect to: 

  • Connect with industry decision-makers
  • Showcase your organization’s expertise 
  • Demonstrate your leadership to Head Start 

The Florida Head Start Association Annual Conference & Expo will take place March 2-4, 2022, at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando in Orlando, FL. It will provide unmatched educational and networking opportunities to our audience of Head Start CEO/Executive Directors, Directors, Managers, Center Coordinators, Teachers, Front Line Staff, Policy Council Members, Parents, and Community Partners. Attendees represent a broad range of Head Start, Early Head Start, Child Care Partnerships, Migrant Head Start Programs, and Early Childhood educator organizations. We yield around 200-300 convention attendees with a funding level around $409 M to support local program activities including training and technical assistance.

Hotel Accommodations


DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando

5780 Major Boulevard | Orlando, FL 32819


FHSA room block is open and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The room block cut-off is Thursday, February 11, 2022, or until it reaches capacity.


FHSA conference rate is being offered three (3) days pre and post-conference.


The Group Discounted Rate is from $152 /per night++. To book your room, you can call Hilton Reservations at 1-800-222-8733 using the unique rate code (HSA) or use the "Book your room" button below.


If booking multiple rooms under one reservation, please call Hilton Reservation at 1-800-222-8733 using the unique rate code (FE2).


Parking: Overnight and event day self-parking rate is discounted to $11+ tax a night. Valet services are $29.00+ tax a night.


What's Happening Around the State

Executive Director of Community Action Program Committee, Inc. (CAPC), Doug Brown had the opportunity to share information with fellow Pensacola Chamber of Commerce members, volunteers, and various business representatives about CAPC and how the early childhood sector is critical to the success of our local businesses. He also spoke to the ways in which CAPC supports economic development in our community. In closing, he thanked the Pensacola Chamber and all the members for their support of the Head Start families.

Florida’s Head Start programs must juggle competing pandemic rules, Tampa Bay Times, December 8, 2021


Florida school districts and other organizations that operate Head Start children’s programs have been caught in the crossfire as the state and federal governments continue to set conflicting rules about masks and vaccinations.


Citing an ongoing need to stem the spread of COVID-19 variants, the federal Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule at the end of November that requires anyone age 2 or older to wear masks indoors, where the early education program is provided. The requirement took immediate effect.

Changes to Head Start eligibility proposed, Lehigh Acres Citizen, November 25, 2021


The School Board of Lee County unanimously voted to move forward with changing the eligibility requirements for children entering the Head Start Program.


The selection criteria for the program is based on a point system with a committee meeting every year with parents to review the system and selection criteria, so it can be adjusted based on the community’s need.


“The point system… the most vulnerable children rise to the top… homeless, adopted, foster care,” Early Childhood Learning Services Director Mary Romo said.

Children's Week 2022 January 30- February 1


Don't miss the opportunity to participate in Florida's largest children's event in the state. FHSA is a proud partner of the event. We look forward to collaborating with other state agencies whose mission is to support children and families by connecting them to programs, resources, providers, supports, and education.


Visit to learn more about how you can participate or contact FHSA at (850) 694-6477 or email [email protected]


NHSA Healthcare Head Start Benchmark and Trends Report


NHSA's health report is focused on understanding access to and support of health services for children and families.


Click hereto download their findings.

Join NHSA for their 2022 Winter Leadership Institute January 24-27, 2022.   This event will explore meaningful policies, the role of Head Start in our country’s recovery, and meet with lawmakers to help provide a level of stability that will make all the difference.  Let's take this opportunity to stand up for Head Start.

Federal Update

The Build Back Better Act Was Passed in the House and Is Now in the Senate

On November 19, 2021, the House passed historic legislation known as the Build Back Better Act, and it is now in the Senate for debate. We should not get too excited as the Senate could change the bill from its present form. NHSA is encouraged by the transformation this bill could make on America’s youngest learners, their families, and the workforce that make it all possible.


Click here to learn more about this legislation.


Contact Info:

Florida Head Start Association

111 N. Gadsden Street, Suite 200 | Tallahassee, FL 32301

(850) 694-6477

[email protected] 

Connect with Us: