Tutorial 9 · Implementing and Evaluating ECMHC Services
Understanding the Administrator and Consultant Roles in Accountability and Quality Improvement
Head Start administrators and mental health consultants (MHCs) have important roles in developing and implementing accountability and quality improvement procedures.
Accountability of the Administrator
The Head Start program administrator has responsibilities for establishing policies, plans, procedures, and resources to support the MHC. Many of these structures - strategic plan, mental health service plan, administrative supervision, clear goals and expectations, etc. are discussed in Tutorial 8: Developing a Vision and Strategic Planning for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services. Additional structures, described throughout this tutorial, include a strong job description and a clear contractual agreement, documentation of contract-based services delivery information, regular supervision, strategies for feedback from those who utilize or receive consultation services, and a defined process for reviewing service activities data and other mental health goal-based data for continuous quality improvement.
Some areas that could be monitored to ensure that programs are providing these structures and supports include:
The MHC can provide important information to Head Start administrators regarding the degree to which the program is providing the structure and supports needed to build and deliver effective consultation services. The supervision process is an ideal place for these issues to be discussed, and to generate ideas and strategies to strengthen services further.
Accountability measures and the role of the Consultant
Head Start administrators can implement accountability measures for MHCs using multiple structures and strategies. As noted above, administrators should utilize administrative supervision sessions with the MHC to discuss the degree to which the MHC is engaging in the activities and responsibilities as outlined in the job description and / or contract. In addition, it is important to have a well established plan for the MHC to document consultation activities. The documentation plan should detail the data to be collected, the measures to be used, a timeline for data collection, and the process for reviewing the data. Measures for documenting MHC accountability can be developed from a variety of sources, such as the MHC job description or contract, the Head Start Performance Standards, and the Head Start program information report (PIR) (Office of Head Start 2010).
Examples of MHC accountability measures and a sample of PIR data requirements (indicated by *), might include:
For an example reporting form, see Consultant Monthly Activities Report, for tracking these types of activities.
Regular reports (at least monthly) from the consultant to the designated Head Start supervisor should include the information that is most important to ensuring that the consultant is, in fact, delivering the types of services that the program believes to be important --- ideally, based on a systematic program needs assessment and strategic planning process.
This website was made possible by grant number 90YD0268 from the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views or policies of the funding agency nor does publication in any way constitute an endorsement by the funding agency.