Our Head Start applications are not first come, first serve. We are required by the Office of Head Start Performance Standards to ensure we enroll children by our priority grid. Items in the grid are based on a point system which is how we pick children off of our waitlist. Below are the priority grid items:
Income: The child’s income must fall below the poverty guidelines of the Administration for Children and Families. https://aspe.hhs.gov/2020-poverty-guidelines (We realize that these guidelines are low; however, this is a federal funding requirement.)
Age: Must be 3-years-old before August 1 and not be school-age (5-years-old before August 1). Older children have higher priority.
Once age and income guidelines are met, selection is based on those with the highest priorities:
No caregiver in the home: Both parents are working, in school or on disability or a combination of these or a single parent who meets one of these criteria receive higher priority.
Disability: Children enrolled in the school’s early childhood special education program receive higher priority. Head Start must serve 10% children with disabilities.
Exception: Over-income children who are enrolled in the public school’s early childhood special education program will be considered if Head Start would be the best placement.
Special family circumstances also are given higher priority: These are homelessness, living in a shelter, abuse or neglect, incarceration of a parent; recent death or terminal illness of immediate family member, disability or mental illness of immediate family member; suspected disability of the applicant child; and/or children living in a home other than a child’s parent (e.g. relative) who has legal custody of the child.
Children are picked off of the waitlist until the spring of the following year.