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December 13, 2011

Report Raises Concerns About Safety at Head Start Centers

A federal audit of two dozen groups that run Head Start grantees found widespread safety violations at their centers, raising questions about oversight by the 1,600 nonprofit, public, and for-profit grantees involved in the national program, which provides early education for poor children, the Associated Press reports.

Twenty-one of the 24 organizations checked by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services had not fully complied with rules on criminal background checks for employees.

Auditors also found toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies within reach of children; open or broken gates leading to parking lots, streets, or unsupervised areas; and playground equipment in poor repair at most of the groups' Head Start centers.