The federal Head Start Act doesn't address the issue of relatives working together in a Head Start facility. The law prohibits personal and financial conflicts of interest but gives individual agencies the right to establish their own salaries, benefits and human resource policies.
The Head Start Act establishes guidelines for the states to implement the goals of the program, which focuses on providing preschool education, nutrition and parental involvement for children of low-income families in the United States. In regard to administrative policies and hiring practices, the law states only that each agency must employ individuals who are capable of discharging their duties with competence and integrity, and employment policies preclude employees from participating in activities such as protesting, picketing or other illegal acts while on duty at Head Start. Additionally, the law outlines educational prerequisites for teachers. These prerequisites mandate that at least 50 percent of teachers employed at each facility have a baccalaureate or advanced degree in early childhood education or a related major.
Project Head Start began in 1965 under the leadership of Jules Sugarman, its first director. The program was expanded under the Head Start Act of 1981, and it expanded again in 2007 and 2012. In 2013 under federal budget cuts known as sequestration, Head Start funds were cut by just over 5 percent. This was the program's first funding cut in nearly 50 years.