Selection with Equity

Community assessment data inform selection policies and procedures for enrollment. With careful planning and preparation, programs have the data they need to develop and implement effective selection criteria. Families, staff, and community members then guide the development of these policies and procedures to make equity a priority. Making these criteria equitable ensures that programs identify and enroll the children and families who will benefit most from Head Start services.

Questions for Consideration

  • How do you use community assessment data to determine your selection criteria?
  • What are you doing to reduce biases in the selection process and prioritize the selection of families who are most in need of services?
  • What professional development or support do staff receive to understand their own beliefs, values, experiences, ethics, and biases? To increase their self-awareness about how these factors may affect the selection process?
  • How do you prioritize the selection of children in foster care, families experiencing homelessness, and families who receive public assistance (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF], Supplemental Security Income [SSI])?
  • Do you consider the effects of discrimination, historical oppression, and trauma as you develop your selection criteria? What additional eligibility criteria should you consider based on the specific communities you serve?
  • Who is prioritized from your waiting list? How do you use an equity approach to identify and select families from the list?
  • How do you keep families updated during the selection process? How do you promote transparency and open communication in the process?
  • How do you communicate your selection criteria to families so they can help with program outreach and recruitment?
  • How do you communicate in sensitive and culturally responsive ways to let families know if they are not selected or if they have been put on a waiting list?
  • How can you support families even if they are not selected for your program? How can you ensure a warm hand-off to other programs or partners in your community?
  • What are your processes for identifying strengths or areas of growth in your current selection processes? How can you use selection data to improve future selection processes and demonstrate continuous quality improvement?