The HHS Poverty Guidelines 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.
Head Start programs must store eligibility determination records according to requirements at 45 CFR §1302.12. Programs may use the Head Start Eligibility Verification Form as a component of the eligibility determination record alongside copies of documents or statements deemed necessary to verify eligibility.
Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance (ERSEA) systems provide for effective access to the program for children and families.
The eligibility final rule became effective March 12, 2015. The Office of Head Start (OHS) hosted a webinar for grantees to review this rule. It served as a refresher around OHS requirements regarding the determination and documentation of a family’s eligibility for Head Start services.
Research on continuity of care has found that instability is high with low-income families. Extending eligibility redeterminations to 12 months or more provides financial stability for families. It also gives continuous early care and education for children.