Head Start and Early Head Start Eligibility and Enrollment Priorities

To be eligible for services applicants must be pregnant or have a child age 0 to 5 years old. All applicants are categorically eligible based on age, income, homelessness, foster child and/or Early Head Start Transition.  (5 year old applicants must not be eligible for kindergarten enrollment at a public school.  In general the public school cutoff date for kindergarten entrance is September 1st.)

Head Start Selection/Enrollment Priorities

  1. Early Head Start Transition
  2. Homeless
  3. Lowest income
  4. Closest to kindergarten age
  5. Center selection will be oldest children first then family need second
  6. Diagnosed Special Needs children (can be enrolled for days of attendance different than what is offered at a particular center based on their IEP plan)
  7. Children ages 3-5 living in families with income over the Federal Poverty Guidelines

Early Head Start Selection/Enrollment Priorities

  1. Newborn to 12 months of age identified as having a special need (until 10% specification for enrolled special needs children is met)
  2. Family with a child 13 to 36 months of age identified as having a special need (until 10% specification for enrolled special needs  children are met)
  3. Homeless
  4. Pregnant mothers
  5. Lowest income families with a child that is newborn to 12 months of age
  6. Family with a child 13 to 16 months of age referred by a community professional agency
  7. Children ages 0-3 living in families with income over the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • A family may be eligible for services due to receipt of public assistance (TANF, Cal Works), Supplemental Security Income, or foster care placement
  • At least 10% of the number of enrollment opportunities are reserved for children with diagnosed special needs
  • Families who are over income (above Federal Poverty Guidelines) become eligible when there are no more income eligible applicants on the wait list

See Federal Poverty Guidelines at: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines