Frequently Asked Questions

What does “income eligible” mean?

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs with income guidelines for enrollment. Head Start programs are required to use twelve months of documented income to determine a family’s eligibility.

Head Start programs are required first to 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 still 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. If it is complete (meaning income and birth record are included), the file is entered into our agency waitlist. 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 record, 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, it means 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 make sure that these documents are completed and turned in. Ultimately, the sooner you can get these requirements completed and turned 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, it may mean that there is no space in the center or program you requested. It may also mean that your family is over income, and we are no longer able to accept over income files.

Children are placed on the waitlist according to the 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 have a higher likelihood of being selected from the waitlist than those families over-income.

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 who are currently participating in EHS are given priority 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.

Do you offer virtual services due to the pandemic?

We have offered virtual service during the pandemic. Local COVID-19 rates, along with guidance from the CDC, Office of Head Start, Portage County Health Department, and others are reviewed regularly. In-person services are preferred, but virtual services may be available dependent on area COVID-19 rates.

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, with a focus on meeting developmental milestones, and school readiness. Parents and children are encouraged to continue working on lessons throughout the week 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 to have 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 to have 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 the necessary information is received and verified by our main office. 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, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we limit the number of people in our centers and schedule visits on days and times when students are not in the building. You will need to call the center to schedule a tour with the Site Administrator of that building.

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.