As CCCD Head Start Program Winds Down, Are the Children Safe?

Deficiency in student supervision remains, says Head Start inspectors...

It's "the Monday after", as Cape Cod Child Development program announced that it was losing the Head Start contract that it has held for decades and that the troubled organization is essentially merging with the respected JTEC program.  Questions remain as to whether the children in the current Head Start program - and other CCCD programs, for that matter - are well-supervised and safe.

In the report issued last week, effectively terminating CCCD's involvement with Head Start as of June 30, 2019, inspectors from the Office of Head Start slammed the agency once again for failure to properly supervise students.  "The grantee did not ensure no child was left alone or unsupervised by staff while under their care," declares the first paragraph of OHS's follow up on January 15, 2019.

The first incident cited  in the report happened at the Onset Center.  The report continues, "At the Onset Center playground, the lead teacher and teacher were observed with 10 children; however, the attendance sheet on the picnic table on the playground indicated there were 11 children present noted by the letter "P" next to each child's name.  When asked how many children were present, neither staff answered and began to count the children.  When told the number of children on the playground did not match the number on the attendance sheet, the lead teacher reviewed the attendance sheet and drew a line through the "P" for one child.  When it was time for the same children to leave the playground to board a bus to go home, no name-to-face roll call or counting was performed, as per the Active Supervision Policy.  Children were walked to the bus and again no name-to-face roll call or counting was conducted by the teacher as children boarded the bus."

When challenged by inspectors on the training of staff on "Culture of Safety" protocols, "the Onset Center Manager said she trained her staff on the policies informally; however, she could not document the training and could not provide records of training provided to center staff."

Moving on to the Hyannis Pearl Street Center Classroom 3... "Children were signed out by staff if they left and/or returned mid-day on the bus for special services; however, not all children's letter "P" were crossed out or reinstated when they left or re-entered the classroom.  Thus the number of children on the whiteboard did not match the number of P's on the attendance sheet."

Then there was yet another "child left behind", on December 5, 2018.   Again quoting from the OHS report... "...a 3-year-old child at the West Main Street Center left a classroom and was found unattended in the hallway.  According to the Grantee, the Center Manager observed a child outside of the child's classroom door at 2:00 p.m. with no staff in sight.  The center Manager took the child into her office and called to report the incident to the Acting Head Start Director.  At 2:15 p.m., the child's teacher observed the child in the Center Manager's office, and the child was returned to the classroom.  According to the incident summary, the child's teacher had taken the child and two other children from their classroom to the bathroom at 1:55 p.m. and indicated that the child must have gone out the door alone during the transition to and from the bathroom.  It was estimated the child was unattended for approximately 5 minutes.  The incident was reported by the Director of Early Education to the OHS Region 1 on December 5, 2018."

This section of the report concludes with these words:  "The grantee did not ensure no child was left alone or unsupervised by staff while under their care.  This area of deficiency remains uncorrected."

Download the full 2019 follow up report here.

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