WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified Laredo-based Teaching and Mentoring Communities (TMC), which runs Head Start programs for the children of migrants, that that their designation as a Head Start grantee has been suspended effective May 17, 2018.
According to the Office of Head Start (OHS), a recent review of TMC’s Head Start and Early Head Start program was conducted in April 2018. Among the many findings was a failure by TMC to maintain legal and fiscal responsibility, as well as proper accounting for head start agency.
The suspension is an escalation of previous federal concerns about TMC’s management of federal funds. In September 2017, TMC was issued a Notice of Termination. The termination resulted from a monitoring review on July 18-21, 2017 which identified management deficiencies, misuse of federal funds and inappropriately allocating costs to the federal Head Start grant. The proposed termination was appealed by TMC, and they were therefore allowed to continue to receive funding during the appeal process.
During the period of suspension, ACF will appoint the Community Development Institute (CDI), an interim grantee who will be based out of Laredo, to operate the program. While there will be disruption of services immediately after the suspension, CDI currently has on-ground staff who are working to transition licenses, conduct job fairs, and establish employee hotlines for employees and their families.
Congressman Henry Cuellar released the following statement in response to the news:
“This is an unfortunate finding for our community and for the people who rely on the Head Start and Early Head Start Program in Laredo. I have spoken with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Head Start who will work with employees during this transition, and make sure that services to children and families will continue.
I will do everything to help provide these children and families with the services they deserve while making sure that employees are transitioned to the interim grantee properly.”