Head Start Headaches

Parents across the nation are buzzing about a new report released today. The US Department of Health and Human Services issued a report on investigations into Head Start programs by the Office of the Inspector General.

Some of the safety violations found around the country are alarming. In Connecticut, officials found a machete within reach of children. In Texoma, nearly a dozen Head Start programs were included in the report. None of them had serious violations.

Rolling Plains Management Corporation, based in Crowell, owns the 11 programs in Archer City, Chillicothe, Crowell, Graham, Knox City, Munday, Olney, Paducah, Quanah, Seymour, and Vernon. Executive Director Felix Taylor said the inspections were thorough. "They looked from top to bottom; they viewed the sites, they checked the records," he said.

The sites were found to have very minor safety violations – such as not having multiple sizes of bandages in a first aid kit. The documents show the problems were all corrected shortly after the inspection January 2010.

Taylor welcomed Newschannel 6 cameras into the facilities. We went to the Wilbarger County Preschool in Vernon. Armed with the list of infractions, our reporter checked the list. All of the items cited were corrected.

Another problem on the report regarding Rolling Plains' centers was that not all employees had undergone background checks. The ones who had not held administrative positions that Taylor said did not come in contact with children. "Nevertheless a portion of their salary comes from (Head Start) funds and that's what they were looking at," he explained. Since the report, all employees the rules require have been given background checks.

Taylor said Rolling Plains Management welcomes the inspections. He said they help the centers review the programs and make them have a better set of policies.

You can view the full report on the Rolling Plains Management Corporation properties by clicking here.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6