Frequently Asked Questions
What does income eligibility mean?
Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs with income guidelines for enrollment. Families currently receiving SNAP benefits, homeless and in foster care, and families with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FGP) are considered income eligible.
Head Start programs must first enroll children and families whose incomes fall under 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) and those homeless or in foster care. These children are considered “income eligible.”
Children and families with incomes above 100% of the FPG may be enrolled if enrollment spaces exist. These children are considered “over income.” Children with documented disabilities (IEP or IFSP) and those with family incomes under 130% of FPG are given priority.
What happens once I complete an enrollment?
The enrollment file goes to the Director of Family Engagement for processing. The file is entered into our agency waitlist if complete (meaning income and birth record are included). If there were releases of information completed for health requirements, those are faxed or emailed to the appropriate professional.
If the enrollment file is missing income or birth records, attempts will be made to contact you via phone, email, or mail about the missing documents. The file will be kept at our main office.
Now that I’ve completed the enrollment paperwork, is my child accepted?
Not necessarily. It depends on if space exists in the center or programs you requested, your family’s transportation needs, the greatest need for services, etc. It also depends on whether or not your family is income eligible. Children are accepted weekly.
How will I know if my child is accepted?
Staff is notified weekly of new children accepted for classrooms or home visiting. A Family Advocate or Home Visitor will contact you via phone, text, or email once your child has been accepted. You must notify us of any changes to phone numbers!
Once my child is accepted, how soon can they start?
When a child is accepted to Head Start or Early Head Start, an enrollment space is reserved for them. Children cannot begin in our programs until all health requirements are completed and verified by our office.
We will work with you to ensure that these documents are completed and turned in. Ultimately, the sooner you can complete these requirements and turn them in, the sooner your child may begin.
My child is on the waitlist. What does this mean? When will they be able to start?
If your child is on the waitlist, there may be no space in the center or program you requested. It may also mean that your family is over-income, and we can no longer accept over-income files.
Children are placed on the waitlist according to their greatest need. It is not first-come, first-serve. We use key enrollment indicators to help us determine the greatest need for services. We are required to provide services to those in greatest need first.
It is almost impossible to tell families how long a child will remain on the waitlist, as there are often many factors at play. Income-eligible children are more likely to be selected from the waitlist than those over-income families.
It sometimes happens that children can remain on the waitlist all year without ever being accepted. If your child is age-eligible for the next school year, a letter will be sent to you encouraging you to reapply.
I applied for Early Head Start and only want the center for my child. When can they start?
If you apply for Early Head Start and are unwilling to participate in our Home-Based services, your child will not get into the center. This is because children participating in EHS are prioritized for the Center-Based program. We have more children in EHS Home-Based than spaces available in our classrooms, and we always have Home-Based children waiting to move into the center.
What do Home-Based services entail?
Home Visits are individualized and provided once a week on a day and time mutually agreed upon with families and Home Visitors. Weekly lesson plans are created with parent input, focusing on meeting developmental milestones and school readiness. Parents and children are encouraged to continue working on weekly lessons to support learning at home. Home Visitors support parents in their role as primary educators of their children.Accepting Home-Based services prioritizes children for Center-Based spaces.
What are the health requirements for Head Start and Early Head Start?
In Early Head Start, children need a current physical (completed within the last 13 months), lead results, and hemoglobin/hematocrit results (if 12 months or older).
In Head Start, children need a current physical (completed within the last 13 months), lead results, hemoglobin/hematocrit results, and a current dental (completed within the last 12 months).
Children may not begin in the centers or with home visits until our main office receives and verifies the necessary information. State and Federal Regulations require that your child have up-to-date medical requirements on file before they can participate.
My child is not yet potty trained. Can they still attend a center?
Yes, we do not require children to be potty trained to attend our centers. We provide all diapers and wipes during the school day. Our staff will work with you and your child on all toilet training goals!
Do you provide bussing or transportation to the centers?
Limited bussing is available at our Ravenna and Kent centers only. Transportation is not guaranteed.
Am I able to tour your centers before my child begins?
Yes. We encourage parents to come to our centers to see the classrooms. Please get in touch with the Site Administrator to schedule a tour of the center your child was accepted to.
Do you have a school supply list? What does my child need to bring daily?
You are not required to bring in any school supplies for your child.
We ask that children have a backpack and at least one complete change of clothing if attending a center.
All meals are provided to children in centers. They will receive breakfast, lunch, and snacks. We do not permit any outside food or drink into our centers.
Children in our home-based programs receive a snack.