ELIGIBILITY AND SELECTION
Eligibility, Recruitment, and Selection of Students into Head Start
Head Start Performance Standards(1302.10; 1302.11; 1302.12; 1302.13; 1302.14; 1302.15; 1302.16) state the requirements for determining community needs and recruitment areas. These contain requirements and procedures for the eligibility determination, recruitment, selection, enrollments and attendance of children in Head Start programs. In carrying out this responsibility, the grantee has set as its primary objective for recruitment that of providing the maximum number of needy, eligible children with the Head Start experience before they enter kindergarten. Since the grantee cannot serve all eligible children, it is felt that priorities for recruitment must be established. In addition, recruitment must be carried out in such a way as to minimize personal bias. The program completes a community assessment every three years and a self-assessment annually to help in determining the areas with the greatest need for Head Start.
B. Determining Community Strengths and Needs:
Service areas will be determined according to the information compiled during the community assessment. Information to be studied includes:
- Census information.
- Families in areas that qualify for support services such as Free and Reduced Meals, Food Stamps, TANF, etc.
- Other child development and child care programs that serve HS eligible children.
- Estimated number of children with disabilities.
- Education, health, nutrition and social service needs of HS eligible families.
- Resources in the community that can address the needs of HS eligible children and their families.
C. Age of Children and Family Income Eligibility; Enrollment:
To be eligible for Head Start services, a child must be at least three years old by the date used to determine eligibility for the public school system.
Enrollment slots will be filled by first selecting children who are one year from kindergarten then filling any remaining slots with children who are two years from kindergarten. No child will be served in Head Start prior to their third birthday.
At least 90% of the children who are enrolled in the program will be from low-income families. Up to ten percent of the children who are enrolled may be children from families that exceed the low-income guidelines but who meet other criteria. The criteria will be weighted and children ranked according to the total number of points assigned to the child. Any child found eligible and admitted into HS will be allowed to stay in HS until kindergarten or until the parent chooses to remove the child from HS. HS will offer enrollment opportunities to children regardless of race, sex, creed, national origin, or disability. The current poverty guidelines can be viewed at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty
At least 10% of the total number of enrollment opportunities in the grantee will be made available to children with disabilities that meet the definition for children with disabilities. The definition of children with disabilities may include that of 1302.60 (a) which describes children with mental retardation, hearing impairments, including deafness, speech, or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, serious emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments or specific learning disabilities who by reason thereof need special education and related services. The exception to this requirement would be if the grantee made a reasonable effort to comply with this requirement but was unable to do so because there were an insufficient number of children with disabilities in the area who wished to attend the program or for whom the program was found as an inappropriate placement based on the IEP.
During registration, parents who submit an incomplete application are given instructions on how to complete the application and are informed that until the application is complete, it cannot be processed. A duplicate copy of this notice is attached to the application and a number is listed on both the application and the notice. When the parent returns with the missing document(s), it is attached to the application and then processed. Prior to summer vacation, parents are once again notified by post card if their child’s application is incomplete. When the application process is completed, the parent is informed of the child’s status, which is either acceptance into Head Start or placement on a waiting list.
Any parent interested in registering their child must complete an online application during open enrollment in April or anytime thereafter. The online application can be accessed at www.ascensionearlychildhood.org.
Assistance in completing the online application can be provided by staff at the following school campuses: G.W. Carver Primary, Gonzales Primary, Pecan Grove Primary, Donaldsonville Primary, or Ascension Head Start.
Copies of these documents are necessary:
- Birth Certificate
- Shot Record
- Proof of Income (1040 income tax, food stamp print out, letter from employer or any other document which makes it possible for us to determine annual income)
- Proof of Residence
- Documentation of Special Education Services being provide if applicable.
Any other information may be obtained by calling the Head Start's main office at (225) 391-7351.
All applications must include verification of income. A trained staff person will examine one of the following documents: Individual income tax form 1040, w-2 forms, pay stubs, pay envelopes, written statements from employers, or documentation showing current status as recipients of public assistance. Thereafter, the staff person will sign a statement identifying which of these documents was examined and stating that the income was verified. The statement is maintained for auditing purposes.
D. Recruitment of Children:
Registration for the forthcoming year will begin in April and online applications of interested people will continue to be processed throughout the school year. Applications will be numbered and a record of all applications distributed will be kept on file. Each completed application will be studied and according to the information received, a number of points will be assigned. Prioritization will take place according to this system.
To be considered a completed application, these documents must accompany the application and be uploaded with the applicant's application:
- Verification of birth – This determines age eligibility
- Current immunization Record – Required by state for entrance in day care
- Income verification – Income eligibility
- If a child has an identified disability, then this documentation will be included in the prioritizing of the child’s application.
- Residency – must live in Ascension parish
E. Public Awareness of Registration:
Head Start makes every effort to notify the community that registration is taking place. The school system helps with this by allowing fliers to be posted in school offices and by sending home notes to all elementary age children. Agencies that have partnership agreements with the program are sent a poster to place in their reception areas. Churches are encouraged to advertise the dates of registration. Businesses post announcements. Advertisements can be found in local newspapers and public announcements are heard on local radio stations. Head Start children also take home fliers that make parents aware of registration. The Policy Council and other Head Start families are asked to share registration fliers in their communities.
F. Waiting List:
Children not accepted into the program at the beginning of the program year and are eligible would be placed on a waiting list. Any time a slot becomes available, that slot will be filled within thirty calendar days using the waiting list. If a slot becomes available within the last thirty calendar days of the program, then that slot will not be filled.