Documentation/Records: Analyze Enrollment

Documentation/records include items such as birth certificate, school records, and immunization records. Children in homeless situations can be enrolled immediately, even before obtaining documentation and records. Each program needs a process for obtaining documentation/records that addresses the transient nature of families experiencing homelessness. The process needs to ensure that families receive the necessary support and services so that their children are able to attend school on a regular basis.

Roberto’s Story

You have identified that four-year-old Roberto is eligible for Head Start based on homelessness and you will be enrolling him in your Head Start program. You have learned that Roberto previously attended a Head Start program in another state. You will need to obtain the records from that program such as Roberto’s birth certificate, immunization records, and other health records. You have some concerns because you know the family has moved a number of times and may not have the necessary documentation/records.

Your Task

What will you tell Roberto’s family about providing you with documentation/records? During the time you are obtaining the documentation/records, what will you do with Roberto? After you have your ideas, read what some programs have done.

What some programs have done

Important! You can enroll children experiencing homelessness immediately and begin providing services, even before you have the documentation/records.

An idea from Ohio:
A case manager liaison for homelessness from the Child Development Center Head Start in Franklin County, Columbus Ohio describes what her program finds helpful to tell parents about obtaining documentation/records:

We inform families that we will work with them to obtain the birth certificate, proof of income, social security card, and immunizations. In assisting them with our enrollment process, we ensure that they have a smooth transition into the program.

The case manager’s responsibility is to make sure we get the immunization or shot record prior to children being enrolled, as it is a mandatory requirement. The only requirement, because of the health issues, is the documentation of the shots.

An idea from California:
A family experiencing homelessness in California moved several times and had difficulty keeping track of important papers and records. To help out the family, the family service worker offered to keep the records securely in a file cabinet in her office so the family would always know where to find the records, if needed.

Documentation/Records: Explore Information

Before you work on the documentation/records element of your own enrollment plan, do the following:

  • Review the information in the links below.
  • Discuss with a colleague how the information might apply to your enrollment plan.

Documentation/Records: Build Your Plan

In creating your enrollment plan, use the checklist below as you review and develop strategies for obtaining documentation/records to ensure that they address families experiencing homelessness. For more information, select the Tell me more links.

  • I have reviewed the ideas for obtaining documentation/records in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs. Tell me more

    I have reviewed the ideas for obtaining documentation/records

    Consider the following questions:

    • Do you think that the ideas from Ohio and California are reasonable and address the issues?
    • How do the strategies for obtaining documentation/records ensure that a child experiencing homelessness will be able to attend the Head Start program?
  • I have considered whether any of the ideas for obtaining documentation/records in the Analyze Enrollment and Explore Information tabs will work in my program. Tell me more

    I have considered whether any of the ideas for obtaining documentation/records will work in my program

    Consider the following questions:

    • Can you use any of the strategies for obtaining documentation/records in your own program? Which ones?
    • Are there any of the strategies for obtaining documentation/records that will not work in your program? Which ones? Why won't they work?
    • Are there other strategies for obtaining documentation/records you might want to include in your enrollment plan?
  • I have thought about my strategies for obtaining documentation/records, and how I might change them to help families experiencing homelessness. Tell me more

    I have thought about my strategies for obtaining documentation/records

    Consider the following questions:

    • Do your current strategies for obtaining documentation/records ensure that children experiencing homelessness will be able to attend your program?
    • What kind of strategies for obtaining documentation/records will work in your program?
    • What type of strategies for obtaining documentation/records should you include in your enrollment plan that will support families experiencing homelessness?
  • I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) strategies for obtaining documentation/records. Tell me more

    I have begun to formulate (or update my existing) strategies for obtaining documentation/records

    Consider the following questions:

    • What information in the Explore Information tab can help you create or update your strategies for obtaining documentation/records?
    • Do you need to change your existing strategies for obtaining documentation/records to take into account families experiencing homelessness? How should you change them?
    • What strategies for obtaining documentation/records do you need to include in your enrollment plan to support families experiencing homelessness?
    • Have you reviewed your strategies for obtaining documentation/records to ensure that they support families and children experiencing homelessness? What did you determine?

Last Updated: July 9, 2014