Final Rule on Head Start Eligibility
February 10, 2015
Final Rule on Head Start Eligibility was published in the Federal Register. It codifies statutory eligibility requirements revised in the Improving Head Start Act of 2007 and strengthens procedures programs use to determine eligibility.
This final rule amends two sections of Head Start eligibility regulations within the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), Section 1305. First, the rule incorporates changes to eligibility in the most recent Head Start reauthorization. It also improves program integrity by strengthening required procedures to ensure only eligible children receive Head Start services.
The rule provides clear instructions on how to determine if families are either income or categorically eligible for Head Start services. It describes the types of documents programs may accept from families to prove their eligibility, as well as how to verify those documents. Further, it requires programs to maintain those documents in records for a specific period of time. The rule also instructs programs to train staff on these eligibility requirements and on the legal consequences for committing fraud. It also requires programs to take action against staff that intentionally enroll ineligible children.
Preschool for All
The National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA) works to promote investment in early childhood education and we are committed to making sure that the children of migrant families are prepared to be strong learner when they begin Kindergarten at the age of 5.
Announced in his State of the Union Address in 2013, President Obama’s Preschool for All initiative seeks to expand access to high-quality preschool, proposes investments that support a continuum of early learning opportunity, beginning at birth and continuing to age five. In January 2014, President Obama again challenged Americans – elected officials, business leaders, philanthropists, and the public – to help more children access the early education they need to succeed in school and in life.
While NMSHSA supports the President’s “Preschool for All” initiative generally, we do have specific concerns with the proposed initiatives ability to serve the needs of farmworkers or Native American families. Read the attached letter to President Obama from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for more information on this subject.
In a letter to President Obama we express our interest in working together to ensure that the Preschool for All initiative addresses the needs of farmworker families.
“We believe parent engagement is an essential element of our success and the success of our Migrant and Seasonal Head Start graduates.”