Policy Council

Policy Council is the parents’ voice in major program decisions, including such things as recruitment, and selection of children, program policies, budgets, and funding proposals (aka grant applications). Head Start Performance Standards require that every Head Start program has an active Policy Council.

The House of Children Head Start would like to thank those parents and community members who have volunteered their time to serve on the Policy Council.

About the Policy Council


The purpose of the Policy Council is to advise on and plan for quality improvement in areas of strategic planning, grant application process, and program evaluation. Policy Council members provide a means for parents to represent the ideas and concerns of all Head Start parents.


The Policy Council is composed of both parents of children currently enrolled in the House of Children Head Start program and representatives from the community. At least 51% of members must be parents of children currently enrolled. Members from the community can include Tribal members with early Childhood Education or organizational experience; representatives from public or private community, civic, and professional organizations; parents of formerly enrolled children, and other community members with skills and experience that would strengthen the Policy Council and Head Start program.

Elected Officers

  • Chairperson
  • Vice-chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Alternate Members
  • Community Representative

Interested in Serving?

If you are interested in serving in one of the positions, please contact Elvira Bitsoi at 360-592-0141 ext. 3503 or your child’s Teacher for details. Yearly elections are held at the beginning of each program year, and a new Policy Council is seated each year in October.


Policy Council terms last one year, starting and ending in October. Members must stand for re-election each year, and are limited to serving a total of three one-year terms.

Points to Keep in Mind

Policy Council Members must…

  • Attend meetings regularly
  • Seek to understand the issues being discussed
  • Participate in discussions
  • Treat others respectfully
  • Help in reaching group decisions
  • Try to understand and use the ideas of other members
  • Evaluate your own contribution
  • Evaluate contributions as a whole
  • Make sure everyone has the right to be heard
  • Honor the rights of the minority and the rule of the majority
  • Take your responsibilities seriously; take yourself lightly!

Policy Council Roles and Responsibilities

In general, Policy Council is responsible for the direction of the program, including program design and operation, and long- and short-term planning goals and objectives.

Specific Responsibilities

Head Start Act 642 (c)(2)(D)

The policy council shall approve and submit to the governing body decisions about each of the following activities:

  • Activities to support active parent involvement
  • Program recruitment, selection, and enrollment priorities
  • Applications for funding and amendments to applications for funding
  • Budget planning for program expenditures, including reimbursement policies
  • Election procedures
  • Recommendations on the selection of delegate agencies

Direct Functions

45 CFR 1304.5 (d)(2)

In addition, Policy Council and Policy Committees must perform the following functions directly:

  • Serve as a link to the Parent Committees, grantee agency governing bodies, public and private organizations, and the communities they serve
  • Assist Parent Committees in communicating with parents enrolled in all program options to ensure that they understand their rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in Head Start and to encourage their participation in the program
  • Assist Parent Committees in planning, coordinating, and organizing program activities for parents with the assistance of staff, and ensuring that funds set aside from program budgets are used to support parent activities
  • Assist in recruiting volunteer services from parents, community residents, and community organizations, and assist in the mobilization of community resources to meet identified needs
  • Establish and maintain procedures for working with the grantee or delegate agency to resolve community complaints about the program.