45 CFR 1305.3 - Determining community strengths and needs.
(a) Each Early Head Start grantee and Head Start grantee must identify its proposed service area in its Head Start grant application and define it by county or sub-county area, such as a municipality, town or census tract or a federally-recognized Indian reservation. With regard to Indian Tribes, the service area may include areas designated as near-reservation by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or, in the absence of such a designation, a Tribe may propose to define its service area to include nearby areas where Indian children and families native to the reservation reside, provided that the service area is approved by the Tribe's governing council. Where the service area of a Tribe includes a non-reservation area, and that area is also served by another Head Start grantee, the Tribe will be authorized to serve children from families native to the reservation residing in the non-reservation area as well as children from families residing on the reservation.
(b) The grantee's service area must be approved, in writing, by the responsible HHS official in order to assure that the service area is of reasonable size and, except in situations where a near-reservation designation or other expanded service area has been approved for a Tribe, does not overlap with that of other Head Start grantees.
(c) Each Early Head Start and Head Start grantee must conduct a Community Assessment within its service area once every three years. The Community Assessment must include the collection and analysis of the following information about the grantee's Early Head Start or Head Start area:
(1) The demographic make-up of Head Start eligible children and families, including their estimated number, geographic location, and racial and ethnic composition;
(2) Other child development and child care programs that are serving Head Start eligible children, including publicly funded State and local preschool programs, and the approximate number of Head Start eligible children served by each;
(3) The estimated number of children with disabilities four years old or younger, including types of disabilities and relevant services and resources provided to these children by community agencies;
(4) Data regarding the education, health, nutrition and social service needs of Head Start eligible children and their families;
(5) The education, health, nutrition and social service needs of Head Start eligible children and their families as defined by families of Head Start eligible children and by institutions in the community that serve young children;
(6) Resources in the community that could be used to address the needs of Head Start eligible children and their families, including assessments of their availability and accessibility.
(d) The Early Head Start and Head Start grantee and delegate agency must use information from the Community Assessment to:
(1) Help determine the grantee's philosophy, and its long-range and short-range program objectives;
(2) Determine the type of component services that are most needed and the program option or options that will be implemented;
(3) Determine the recruitment area that will be served by the grantee, if limitations in the amount of resources make it impossible to serve the entire service area.
(4) If there are delegate agencies, determine the recruitment area that will be served by the grantee and the recruitment area that will be served by each delegate agency.
(5) Determine appropriate locations for centers and the areas to be served by home-based programs; and
(6) Set criteria that define the types of children and families who will be given priority for recruitment and selection.
(e) In each of the two years following completion of the Community Assessment the grantee must conduct a review to determine whether there have been significant changes in the information described in paragraph (b) of this section. If so, the Community Assessment must be updated and the decisions described in paragraph (c) of this section must be reconsidered.
(f) The recruitment area must include the entire service area, unless the resources available to the Head Start grantee are inadequate to serve the entire service area.
(g) In determining the recruitment area when it does not include the entire service area, the grantee must:
(1) Select an area or areas that are among those having the greatest need for Early Head Start or Head Start services as determined by the Community Assessment; and
(2) Include as many Head Start eligible children as possible within the recruitment area, so that:
(i) The greatest number of Head Start eligible children can be recruited and have an opportunity to be considered for selection and enrollment in the Head Start program, and
(ii) The Head Start program can enroll the children and families with the greatest need for its services.