Applying for our programs
For a child to be eligible for Early Head Start/Head Start services, grantees must verify that the child meets the requirements regarding age and be from a “low-income” family (90%). A low income family is a family whose income before taxes is below the Federal Poverty Guideline or a family is receiving Public Assistance. There are a limited number of spots available for families above the income guidelines as well.
Families that meet the definition of Homelessness and children in foster care or receiving TANF funded services are also Early Head Start/Head Start eligible. In addition, the child must be at least three years old by the day used to determine eligibility for public school in the respective community. In order to meet the age requirement for Early Head Start, a child must be under the age of three. Early Head Start also serves pregnant women. The Early Head Start/Head Start program must verify the family income before determining that a child is eligible to participate in the program.
How To Apply
To apply for our program, please contact the center in your area to arrange a time to complete the intake process. Please plan on scheduling at least 60 minutes to complete the paperwork.
You will need to bring the following items with you to the intake meeting:
- Your child’s birth record
- Your family’s proof of income (1040 Tax Statement or, pay stubs or, W2, etc.)
Priority of enrollment is given to the neediest families and children based on the following selection criteria (these are not in order of importance):
- Child with an ongoing medical condition
- Child Established Risks
- Child previously enrolled in Early Head Start
- English Language Fluency
- Family Education
- Family Employment Type
- Family Type
- Homeless in the past 12 months
- Number of children in the family
- Public Assistance through the participation in a TANF funded program
- Supplementary Security Income
- Special Needs
UPON ACCEPTANCE INTO THE PROGRAM, YOU WILL BE ASKED TO COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
Required Health Screening/exam forms
Please print out the following documents to bring with you to your appointments.
Frequently Asked Questions About Head Start
Head Start offers family support services and the chance for families to participate as full partners in the education of their children. Parents may use this fact sheet to answer questions about the program.
Q: Is my Child Eligible for Head Start or Early Head Start?
A: Children from birth to age five from families with low income, according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the federal government, are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services.
Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are categorically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of income.
Head Start programs may enroll up to 10% of children from families that have incomes above the Poverty Guidelines. Programs may also serve up to an additional 35% of children from families whose incomes are above the Poverty Guidelines, but below 130% of the poverty line if the program can ensure that certain conditions have been met.
Pregnant women may also be eligible for Early Head Start.
Q: How do I find a Head Start Program near me?
A: If you need help finding a Head Start program in your area, call Head Start Information and Communications Center toll-free at 1-866-763-6481, or you may use the online national Head Start Program Locator Tool at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/HeadStartOffices.
Q: Are children in foster care eligible for Head Start?
A: Children in foster care are Head Start eligible, regardless of family income.
Q: Does Head Start accept children with disabilities or special needs?
A: The Head Start Act of 2007 requires that, beginning in fiscal year 2009 (i.e. beginning October 1, 2008) “not less than 10 percent of the total number of children actually enrolled by each Head Start agency and each delegate agency will be children with disabilities who are determined to be eligible for special education and related services, or early intervention services…by the State or local agency providing services under section 619 or part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.).”
Q: What if my income level is higher than the poverty guidelines?
A: Head Start programs may enroll up to 10% of children from families that have incomes above the Poverty Guidelines. Programs may also serve up to an additional 35% of children from families whose incomes are above the Poverty Guidelines, but below 130% of the poverty line if the program can ensure that certain conditions described in the section 645 (a)(1)(B)(iii)(II) of the Head Start Act have been met.
Q: What are the other options if my child in ineligible for Head Start?
A: If you are ineligible for Head Start, the Child Care Aware program can help you in locating other childcare services in your community. To find the local child care resource and referral agency, please contact Child Care Aware toll-free at 800-424-2246. Web site: http://www.childcareaware.org/.
Q: How can I get involved with Head Start?
A: Head Start welcomes volunteers. By becoming a volunteer you can help in the classroom and on field trips, assist in renovating centers, and support parent education. Your volunteer experience may later qualify you for training which can help you find employment in the child care field. For information about volunteering please contact your local Head Start program. To locate a program near you visit the online national Head Start Program Locator Tool at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/HeadStartOffices.