Read the latest about what's happening at FHSA, highlights from the Awards luncheon, plus so much more

October/November 2023 | The Monthly Newsletter of the Florida Head Start Association 

Letter from the Executive Director 

Happy November! It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of 2023! What's one goal you want to achieve before the end of the year?  FHSA' aims to increase awareness about all things Head Start in Florida. As your state association, we want to provide the tools you need to help families thrive. Last month, the FHSA board of directors convened in Cape Coral prior to our Leadership Training and Annual Awards luncheon and hosted a strategic planning retreat. In addition to the board, FHSA brought together stakeholders to help develop a plan that will continue moving the association forward in a direction that will make a positive impact and improve the services can provide to our members.   In addition to the strategic plan, the board revisited FHSA's vision, mission and purpose which speaks to what Head Start is all about. I am thrilled to have been part of this work, and I can't wait to share it with you. The board will meet on November 20 to ratify the new vision and mission statements in addition to formally approving the plan. Once these items have been completed, FHSA will release its new direction.   

In addition, FHSA welcomed four new board members. 

  • Terri Barlow, Director, School Board of Brevard County Head Start 
  • LaFonda Heidel, Chief Executive Officer, Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend
  • Vicki Wolin, Director of Early Childhood Programs, Pasco County Head Start 
  • Sean Murnane, Contract Administrator, County & Family Services Department Head Start Division Orange County

During our annual awards luncheon, we recognized our outgoing board members, Tim Center, Sonya Hill, and Cindy Kaier, for their four years of board service, along with our 14 state awards winners, who are extraordinary individuals ranging from fathers, parents, staff, directors, alums, and community partners who make the Florida Head Start community shine. To view highlights from our awards luncheon, click here.  

In other news, we first alerted you via our Top 3 @ 3 regarding Congressman Mike Johnson (LA) being voted as the new Speaker of the House.  As Vice Chair of the Republican Study Committee, he led research on fully block granting Head Start. There are over 4,000 funded slots in his Congressional District, and when grants have been awarded, he has generally supported the program.  FHSA has signed on to a letter NHSA is sending to Speaker Johnson this week welcoming him to his new role and asking for his support to stand up for Head Start.  The letter details the workforce challenges and the strong demand for Head Start. Now is the time to invest in Head Start, not cut, given the realities we're under.  

The Labor/HHS Appropriations Bill funding Head Start is still being determined if it will be headed to the floor next week. That is the bill proposed to cut Head Start funding by $750 million. We will continue to work with NHSA to ensure this does not happen, but we would be grateful if you could take action and help protect Head Start funding. It only takes a few minutes to send a note to your members of Congress.  

In state news: The 2024 Florida legislative session will begin on January 9, 2024. Committee weeks started in October, and several bills have already been filed for the 2024 legislative session. We will keep you informed about any early learning bills that could have an impact. The legislature convened a special session November 6 - 9 to address global concerns and Hurricane Idalia's impact on the Big Bend region. You can view the Joint Proclamation here. 

On behalf of FHSA, we wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. We hope you are able to spend quality time with your loved ones. 

In Fellowship, 

Wanda Minick
Executive Director 

Office of Head Start Updates

OHS Releases New RAN Protocol and Sample Reporting Form

The Office of Head Start (OHS) released a Risk Assessment Notification (RAN) protocol and sample reporting form to assist programs that experience a child health and safety incident. This new information follows the kick-off of FY2024 Head Start monitoring. It directly responds to a recent increase in child health and safety issues among Head Start/Early Head Start programs. 

In the new RAN Review FY2024 Monitoring Protocol, incident reporting is the first step that programs take after a child health and safety issue has occurred. OHS then analyzes the report and may request additional information. Based on this information, OHS will determine if a RAN review will occur. If required, a Program Specialist will review using the RAN protocol to document health and safety incidents, identify contributing factors that may have enabled the incident, communicate corrective action steps, and provide feedback and support to prevent future incidents. Following the review, OHS issues a report of any findings. 

Given the importance of reporting health and safety incidents and an increase in programs’ failure to make timely reports, OHS developed and released a FY24 Sample Incident Reporting Form. This form will support programs to comply with the timeline (immediately and no later than seven days following an incident) and detail necessary in an incident report. The FY24 Sample Incident Reporting Form is not required, but it could help programs ensure they provide all necessary information required by OHS.  

OHS also hosted an informational session and shared that from FY2022 to FY2023, there was an increase in child health and safety issues in every category reported. As you know, Child Health and Safety is one of the many priorities of OHS to reduce or eliminate children's risk of exposure to harm and hazards. 


What's Happening Around the State

In October, Head Start programs nationwide celebrated the continued legacy of the Head Start program that empowers children and families through education, health, and social services.  
Orange County Head Start received a Proclamation from Mayor Jerry L. Demings and six County Commissioners recognizing Head Start Awareness Month. 


Episcopal Children's Services Opens New Playground with Support of the Wagmore Foundation 

On October 20, 2024, Episcopal Children’s Services and the Wagmore Foundation hosted a playground grand opening at the Eastside Head Start Center in Gainesville, a newly renovated Head Start facility in the Alachua County community. The playground at Eastside Head Start results from a $42,600 grant awarded to Episcopal Children’s Services from the Wagmore Foundation to support the outdoor play and learning project. This investment from the Wagmore Foundation will support outdoor play and foster a collaborative learning environment, integrating art, music, and nature experiences while building gross and fine motor skills for the preschoolers. To read the press release, click here. 


FHSA would like to lift up the work of WUCF TV alongside VyStar Credit Union by collecting over 4,500 books for their Super Readers Book Drive! These books have officially been donated to over 20 Head Start locations across nine counties. FHSA thanks WUCF and Vystar for partnering with Head Start on this fantastic initiative. We also thank Kim Singer, Florida Head Start Collaboration Director, and FHSA's newest board member, Sean Murnane, for their involvement in this work. 


Congratulations to the Orange County Head Start program and the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County for their groundbreaking on their Great Gardens Project! The project aims to establish gardens at five childcare centers. The gardens will teach children about healthy nutrition and provide them with hands-on experience in gardening. The Great Gardens Project is made possible thanks to the City of Orlando Mayor's Matching Grant Program funding. Kudos to Sonya Hill, past FHSA Vice President; ELCOC Board Member & Food Security Task Force Chairman; board members Kevin Quimby and Dr. Robert Karch; and to their partner, the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program. 


Did you know that lack of transportation was among the top barriers to Head Start enrollment and retention?  That's why the National Head Start Association and the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation launched a new brief and interactive map to not only highlight barriers Head Start families face in accessing services but to assist Head Start programs with community assessments and planning various meetings within your agencies. 

Parent And Family Engagement Conference

Join NHSA in New Orleans for the annual Parent and Family Engagement Conference December 4-7, 2023. This event will provide a wide range of resources and topics centered around early childhood development and how Head Start programs cn address the needs of children, families, and staff. 

Early registration is going on through November 11. To learn more about this event, click here. 


Winter Leadership Institute

Key decisions are being made the will have a profound impact on the work you do in Head Start.  This is an opportunity for you to meet with your Congressional members to help them understand the important role Head Start play in serving our most vulnerable children and families. This event will be taking place January 22 - 25, 2024, in Crystal City, VA.  Registration is now open. Click here to learn more about this event. 


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


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Three Things Heightening Head Start Awareness

FHSA Lunch and Learn with CelebrateSEL image

Upcoming Events

10: FHSA Office Closed for Veterans Day
14: Tackling Challenging Behaviors with Insight
15: Promoting Health and Wellness Through Head Start Partnerships
15:  Nutrition Services Are a Health Equity Intervention
15: Coaching Corner Series: Coaching to Support Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
16: NHSA and The Zoo in The Classroom: Pre-Math with Cheetahs
16: Leadership and Planning for LGBTQIA2S+ Inclusivity in Head Start Programs
23-24: FHSA Office closed for Thanksgiving holiday
28-30: Leading Into the Future: A RIV Leadership Institute
29: Social and Emotional Well-being with Sesame Workshop
29: Conexiones Series: Marco para la práctica eficaz a través de un lente de equidad
30: FHSA Lunch and Learn with CELEBRATEsel
30: 2023 ECE State Indicator Report: Summary and Stories from the Field

Member Information

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

Important Links



Agency Members

  • Agricultural and Labor Program, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Broward County School Board Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Capital Area Community Action Agency, Inc.

  • Children First Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

  • Children's Home Society of Florida - Brevard
  • Children's Home Society of Florida - Orlando

  • Community Coordinated Care for Children, Inc. (4C)
  • Early Education and Care, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start
  • Early Learning Coalition Miami-Dade/Monroe County

  • Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River Inc.

  • Episcopal Children's Services Head Start/Early Head Start

  • FSU Early Head Start Program
  • Hillsborough County Head Start/Early Head Start Program
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools Head Start Program
  • Jackson County Early Childhood Program
  • Kids Academy Inc.
  • Kids Incorporated of the Big Bend

  • Martin County School District Head Start
  • Miami-Dade Community Action and Human Services Department
  • Mid Florida Community Services Inc. Head Start & Early Head Start
  • Monroe County Public Schools Head Start
  • North Florida Child Development, Inc.

  • Orange County Head Start
  • Pasco County Head Start
  • Redlands Christian Migrant Association
  • Santa Rosa School Board Head Start/Early Head Start
  • School Board of Brevard County Head Start
  • School Board of Polk County

  • St. Johns County School District Head Start

  • Step-Up Suncoast, Inc.

  • Suwannee Valley 4 C's Head Start/Early Head Start
  • The School Board of Miami-Dade County
  • The School District of Palm Beach County Early Childhood
  • Tri-County Community Council, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start

Corporate Friends 

  • Business Leadership Institute Early Learning
  • CELEBRATE Successful Early Learning
  • Dairy Council of Florida
  • Fresh Start Speech Therapy
  • Frogstreet
  • GoCheck Kids
  • Hatch Early Learning
  • Innovative Healthcare Solutions, LLC
  • Lakeshore Learning Materials
  • Learning Beyond Paper, Inc.
  • Miami Dade Family Learning Partnership, Inc.
  • Nemours
  • Shine Early Learning (Acelero, Inc)
  • Simply Healthcare
  • Teachstone 

Individual Friends 

  • Natacha Bazin
  • Bob Bialas
  • Kymberly Cook
  • Cheryl Fountain
  • Nacole Guyton
  • Carolyn Harden
  • Cindy Kaier
  • Maritza Vasquez

If you have any questions about how to join FHSA, please contact Wanda Minick at (850) 694- 6477 or email [email protected] 

FHSA Award Nominations Now Open Image


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]