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Head Start

National Head Start

Head Start is a national program administered by the Office of Head Start within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Head Start programs provide comprehensive services for low-income children from birth to entry into kindergarten.

Head Start currently receives more than $6.8 billion in funds and serves more than 906,000 low-income children and families nationwide. The program is child-centered, family-focused, comprehensive, and community-based. Head Start services are designed to address developmental goals for children, employment and self-sufficiency goals for adults, and support for parents in their work and child-caring roles.

Head Start is a direct federal-to-local program administered by more than 1,600 locally based public or private organizations (called "grantees") across the country.

In Pennsylvania, 36 Early Head Start grantees provide services to 4,156 children from birth to age 3 or to pregnant women. Children age 3 to entry into elementary school receive Head Start services from 49 grantee agencies. Federal funds provide 27,960 children with Head Start Services.

For more information about Head Start or to search for the nearest program visit:

PA PKC/HSSAP Advisory Committee 

Head Start Supplemental Assistance program


Pennsylvania Department of Education

Office of Child Development and Early Learning

April 13, 2015


Subject: Pennsylvania Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Request for Applications Announced-Action Required

Pennsylvania’s fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 proposed budget makes historic investments in education to prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, including an additional $120 million more for early childhood education. With new investments in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts ($100 million) and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program ($20 million), the state will be able to increase the number of children served in high-quality pre-kindergarten by 75 percent. The proposal in the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 Executive Budget represents the first step in achieving the goal of universal access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs. Please note that funding is contingent upon approval by the Pennsylvania Legislature.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is seeking applicants for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP). HSSAP provides children with the opportunity to experience a high quality pre-kindergarten program. The program standards will ensure a high return on the investment in the preparation of young children for school and will help to close the achievement gap.  Early education through Head Start can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, in the workforce, and in life. Applicants may submit funding proposals aligned with the program models outlined in the Head Start Performance Standards 1306 Part C.

PDE is issuing this Request for Applications now in order to support providers in preparing to serve additional children and to assist in being ready for enrollment by September. We recognize that providers need to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and do all of the planning necessary to successfully implement the program pending approval of proposed funding.

This application material is intended to help providers think about what their capacity can be under the proposed $120 million increase in available state funds for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. Approximately 116,000 3- and 4-year-olds are currently unserved in high-quality programs, and you can see the estimated number of unserved children in the school district(s) you serve in Appendix 1 of the guidelines.

This competitive opportunity will select eligible grantees for a two-year grant period beginning this year. The following entities are eligible to apply in the competitive process for FY 2015-16:

  • Head Start grantees
  • Early Head Start grantees

Successful applicants MUST demonstrate:

  • Current federal funding for Head Start or Early Head Start as a grantee or delegate
  • NO uncorrected deficiencies from the most current federal Monitoring Review

Applicants must have the following in place in order to complete an application: a REQUIRED Letter of Intent, a vendor number (SAP #), an administrative unit number (AUN), a master provider index number (MPI), and a federal ID number or tax ID number.

Program Requirements

Eligible applicants that apply for HSSAP funding must provide assurance that they operate in full compliance with the federal Head Start Performance Standards as reported on their Triennial Monitoring Review Report. They assure they will provide updates to the Office of Child Development and Early Learning and the Head Start Collaboration Office director if any changes in their compliance occur. Failure to do so jeopardizes grant funding.

Letter of Intent


Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program applicants MUST complete a REQUIRED Letter of Intent using the template posted below. The Letter of Intent form represents intent to apply for HSSAP funding and includes preliminary information about requested funding, program model, provider type, and area to be served. The Letter of Intent is a requirement in order to gain access to the eGrants system and to be eligible to submit an application for funding. Programs interested in applying must submit a fully completed mandatory Letter of Intent by 3 pm on April 29, 2015 to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov. Programs who do not submit a timely Letter of Intent will not be able to apply in the eGrants system. Late submissions will not be accepted. Those agencies submitting a fully complete Letter of Intent by the due date will be notified when the HSSAP application is open in eGrants.

Information submitted in the Letter of Intent may be modified in the final eGrants application. Agencies also interested in applying for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts funding will complete ONE combined letter of intent as reflected in the provided template.


Pre-Application webinar

The pre-application webinar will provide the necessary information to assist interested applicants in the completion of the application. See below for scheduled dates and times. The webinars will include the opportunity to ask questions regarding the application process, and program requirements. Any response provided during the webinars will not become “official” until addressed in writing by PDE. In addition to questions submitted during the webinars, PDE will accept questions sent to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov until 3 pm on May 1, 2015. Official written responses to questions submitted by the due date will be posted to http://www.pakeys.org/pages/get.aspx?page=Programs_HeadStart.  Applicants should not address questions regarding this application through any other means.


Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program webinars will be held on:


  • April 30, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • April 30, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


To attend the webinars you must register at www.pdewebinars.org


  • Select Current webinars - the title of the session is Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Competitive Grant Webinar FY 2015-16
  • Select the Register button - the login box will automatically appear after you select the register button)


*If you do not currently have a userid and login you can click on this button and then select create a new account at the login section


To access webinar on the day of the event:

  • Go to http://vclass.cciu.org/
  • Click the hyperlink for the Meeting Name. Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Competitive Grant FY 2015-16
  • Log in as "Guest"
  • Enter your email address
  • Enter Display Name: Please enter your first name, last name, and LEA or organization (e.g., Mary Smith – PDE).
  • Click the "Log In" button. Note there is NO password needed to join the Webinar

Vendor Number (SAP Number)

A vendor number can be established by registering at http://www.vendorregistration.state.pa.us/cvmu/paper/DefaultInvoice.aspx

All agencies applying for HSSAP funding must be pre-registered. If you have any questions about vendor numbers, please contact Brian Bell in PDE’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning at (717) 346-0038.

AUN Number

All HSSAP applicants will need to supply a valid AUN number within the REQUIRED Letter of Intent. To verify your AUN number or to check to see if you have one assigned to your agency, click here. If you are an intermediate unit, select Search for Intermediate Units. If you are not an intermediate unit, select Advanced Search and search for your agency.

Applicants that are not already licensed by PDE, and therefore do not have an AUN number, should contact Brian Bell in the Office of Child Development and Early Learning at (717) 346-0038.

Master Provider Index Number

All HSSAP applicants will need a Master Provider Index (MPI) number as part of the application process. MPI numbers are used across the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to identify legal entities and service locations that participate in any of their programs. As such, they are used in DHS’s data system as a common identifier for all of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s (which is a joint office between PDE and DHS) programs, including Child Care Licensing, Early Intervention, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program and Keystone STARS.

Legal entities are assigned a unique 9-digit MPI number. In addition, service locations are assigned a unique 13-digit MPI number, which is created by adding a 4-digit extension to the 9-digit MPI of the legal entity. Legal entities and service providers currently participating in any of these programs should have an MPI number.

Applicants that are not currently participating in any of these programs should contact the Early Learning Network (ELN) Help Desk at (877) 491-3818 and provide their Federal Tax ID to determine their MPI numbers. MPI numbers will not be able to be provided without a Federal Tax ID. If an MPI is not identified a request form will need to be completed.

Tax ID Number or Federal ID Number

This is the number that an agency uses on its federal W-9 form. Applicants for HSSAP funds should consult with the person who handles tax, legal or accounting matters for the agency to determine the federal ID number when you check on your legal name and address.

For questions contact PDE by sending an email to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov.

HSSAP Pre-application Webinar Recording (Is the Java application blocked by your security settings? Click here to find out what to do when this happens.) 

HSSAP 2015 Bidders Conference FAQ Document


Letter of Intent (Required for consideration)

Partner Letter of Commitment

Unmet Need Data Tables

2015 RFA HSSAP Letter of Intent Tracking Sheet

2015-16 Application Guidance Click Here

Early Head Start 

OCDEL is a Federal Early Head Start Grantee.  By working with 2 direct service partners, OCDEL provides 128 Early Head Start slots through Home-based service delivery options to pregnant women, infants and toddlers form low income families.  Counties served include Lawrence and Lebanon Counties.

Early Head Start serves income eligible pregnant women, infants and toddlers through their 3rd birthday.  For more information on OCDEL's Early Head Start program contact Tracey Campanini, 717-346-9324 or trcampanin@pa.gov.

Click Here for the Commonwealth of PA, OCDEL Early Head Start FY12 Report to the Public

Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO)

The PA HSSCO is located at the PA Key in Harrisburg. Click here for more information.



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