Head Start and Early Head Start are publicly funded programs required to follow eligibility guidelines set by Congress.
Criteria for eligibility
- Do you have a child or children age birth – 5 years?
- Or are you an expectant mother?
- Are you income eligible?
There are four automatic income eligibility categories. You only require one to be eligible:
- Families receiving Reach Up, or Reach Ahead, or Child-Only Reach Up grants
- Families with a member receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
- Children in foster care
- Families that are homeless.
Staff will work with you on eligibility. If your family does not fit any of the criteria above, program staff will work with you to determine if you are income-eligible. Eligibility based on wages is considered according to the number of people in your immediate family/household.
If you are applying as income eligible, programs are required to look at 12 months of income using ONE of the following documents:
- Federal Tax return, Form 1040 for the prior tax year (Example: In 2021, we look at your 2020 Federal tax return)
- W2s for prior tax year
- Pay stubs, counting back 12 months from when your application is submitted.
Other sources of income considered in determining income eligibility, include, but not limited to:
- Child support
- Education grants or scholarships
- Unemployment compensation
- Social Security.