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HHS/ACF RIN: 0970-AC73 Publication ID: Fall 2017 
Title: ●Head Start Service Duration Requirements 

This rule would address the requirement in the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) that increases service duration for all Head Start center-based programs to a minimum of 1,020 hours.

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 45 CFR 1302   
Legal Authority: Section 641A of the Head Start Act   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) regulation includes two requirements that increase service duration for all Head Start center-based programs. The first requirement, effective on August 1, 2019, requires center-based programs to operate 50 percent of their slots for 1,020 annual hours. The second requirement, effective August 1, 2021, requires center-based programs to operate 100 percent of their slots for 1,020 annual hours. Each requirement will go into effect unless the Secretary acts to lower each percentage 18 months prior to its respective effective date. The Secretary, through the HSPPS regulation, has the authority to lower the 50 percent requirement through a public notice. Elimination of the 1,020 annual hour requirements allows maximum flexibility for Head Start grantees. Programs could choose to operate for longer than the 448-hour minimum based on demonstrated need in their communities, but it would not be a requirement. The Head Start Act allows programs to convert part-day slot to full-day or full-working-day slots.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

HHS believes that the Secretary could not yet make a defensible determination to reduce the second requirement of 100 percent, based on an assessment of the availability of sufficient funding to mitigate a substantial reduction in funded enrollment, because the effective date of the 100 percent requirement is several budget cycles away. With several years before the 100 percent requirement would go into effect, there is sufficient time to complete the regulatory notice and comment process and to issue a final rule eliminating these duration requirements.


None. The service duration requirements were codified in regulation and in order to remove the 100 percent requirement a regulation must be issued.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The estimated cost of the 100 percent Head Start center-based duration requirement (effective August 1, 2021) is approximately $1.2 billion.


Without additional funding, this requirement would likely result in a loss of between 130,000 and 140,000 Head Start slots.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/00/2018 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Colleen Rathgeb
Director, Division of Planning, Oversight and Policy, Office of Head Start
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
330 C Street SW,
Washington, DC 20201
Phone:202 205-7378