Eligibility Final Rule: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Eligibility final rule became effective March 12, 2015. The Office of Head Start (OHS) developed these questions and answers in response to issues raised by the Head Start community. For clarity, we grouped the questions by either subject matter or recurring theme. Note: This resource is under review.

The Head Start Eligibility Final Rule Webinar

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.

Extending and Aligning Redetermination Periods

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.

Head Start Eligibility Verification Form

The Head Start Eligibility Verification Form complies with the eligibility final rule, Head Start Program Performance Standard 45 CFR 1305, released on Feb. 10, 2015. This form was first made available through ACF-PI-HS-10-02, which is currently under review. Programs may continue to use the form to determine eligibility in accordance with the final rule.

 

ERSEA

Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance (ERSEA) systems provide for effective access to the program for children and families.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Poverty Guidelines and Poverty

The poverty guidelines, which are issued every year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services, are a simplified version of the federal poverty thresholds used for administrative purposes. Grantees often have questions regarding who is eligible for enrollment in Head Start and other social services programs. These frequently asked questions will assist them in understanding how to use the guidelines to assess eligibility and other questions they may have.

Welfare Reform Reauthorization

Former President George W. Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 on Feb. 8, 2006. Grantees will find this information useful when recruiting eligible children for Head Start. The law reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Quick Tips for Establishing a Selection Criteria

The Head Start recruitment process requires full program enrollment. Grantees and delegate agencies can use this tip sheet to establish their programs’ recruitment efforts. Applications are to be taken from as many Head Start-eligible families living within the recruitment areas as possible throughout the course of the program year. This procedure allows for a waiting list to be established so that as vacancies occur, slots are filled as quickly as possible.

Family Income Guidelines: Military Income

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides information that will assist programs in determining the gross income of those families with members in the armed forces. Family service staff will find this information beneficial in determining the eligibility of children of military families for enrollment in the Head Start program.