Poverty Guidelines and Determining Eligibility for Participation in Head Start Programs

The HHS Poverty Guidelines and Section 645 of the Head Start Act are used to determine income eligibility for participation in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Program staff may refer to these resources when working with families.

Children from birth to age five who are from families with incomes below the poverty guidelines are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Children from homeless families, and families receiving public assistance such as TANF or SSI are also eligible. Foster children are eligible regardless of their foster family’s income. Program staff members may refer to this section of the Head Start Act to further understand  eligibility for Head Start and Early Head Start.Two people talking Section 645 of the Head Start Act»

The poverty guidelines are adjusted for families of different sizes and may be used to determine financial eligibility for certain federal programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start services. The guidelines are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services. A single set of guidelines applies to the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. There are separate sets of poverty guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii. These guidelines may be used when determining a family's eligibility for Head Start and Early Head Start sevices. The 2014 HHS Poverty Guidelines»

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Poverty Guidelines and Determining Eligibility for Participation in Head Start Programs. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2014. English.

Last Reviewed: January 2014

Last Updated: August 27, 2014