What Should be Specified in the Consultant’s Contract?

What Should be Specified in the Consultant’s Contract?

Employment contract

The contract is a formal agreement between the Head Start program and the MHC or contracting agency that specifies the scope of services, or exactly what services the MHC and/or agency will provide. For a mental health professional employed by the Head Start program, the job description should re-iterate and further specify the services described in the Request for Proposals. See detailed information about components for building a service contract.

The scope of services for ECMHC could include all of the descriptions of required and expected services from the RFP, adjusted depending on the specific responses, deliverables, timelines, cost arrangements, and services to be provided negotiated between the Head Start program and the selected contractor. Additionally, the contract should include:

  • A description of how the contract work will be coordinated and supervised (e.g. expected frequency of meetings with Head Start staff who is monitoring the contract; point of contact or liaison with the Head Start program; name and contact information for anyone outside of Head Start who is supervising the MHC, and expected level of communication with that individual, etc.).
  • A description of how the Head Start program will be involved in selecting or hiring the consultant (see below)
  • A statement of expectations around consultant turnover, specifically that the contracted agency will attempt to provide continuity of services from the same consultant throughout the contract period (although sometimes turnover is unavoidable).
  • A description of how and when the MHC’s performance of the contract will be. Remember that for contracted work, evaluation of performance must be based on what is specified in the contract.
  • A statement that clearly states that modifications to the type and frequency of services can be made and a process for making those modifications. This is important to ensuring that the consultation services can be adjusted based on emerging program and family needs (see below).
  • Reimbursement/billing procedures and amounts, including what portion of the fees for service will be considered as in-kind contribution
  • Time period for services and contract review
  • Other legally required information for contracting, depending on your agency’s requirements

Contract appendices might include:

  • ECMHC service site location – a description of the Head Start centers where the ECMHC services are to be provided. Should include contact information for each center.
  • Services by service site – a description of which services provided in the contract will be provided at each of the centers listed in the service site locations.

Click here for see a sample Head Start Mental Health Agreement of Partnership on the Administrators page.

For an example early childhood mental health consultation contract, see Contract: Head Start Program, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.