Who is eligible for Head Start services?
Any child is eligible to apply for Head Start or Early Head Start services. Waiting lists are based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to income eligibility.
Early Head Start Age Eligibility: Pregnant moms and children between the ages of birth to three years old. Head Start Age Eligibility: Children between the ages of three to five years old. The child must be 3 or 4 prior to October 1. A child may also be added to a Head Start wait list on or after the 3rd birthday.
How do I decide which center I should apply?
You can access our list of centers here. Families usually pick the center nearest their home; however, you may pick a center near your workplace if that is more convenient. You should also consider things like hours of operation, the availability of transportation services, or if the center offers aftercare services. All of this information can be found on the center website pages. You may place your child on one waiting list at a time, however, if you move or if your needs change, you can request to change the location of your application to a center that is a better fit for your family.
What do I need to bring when I complete my application?
You will need to provide proof of income for the past 12 months or previous calendar year, whichever more accurately reflects your family's current situation. Proof of income can be in the form of individual tax form 1040 or W-2 forms. However, if you do not have these you may bring pay stubs (12 months), a written statement from employer, financial award letters, unemployment information, food stamp records, or other proof of income. If you are having difficulty obtaining documentation to prove your income, contact your center and they can answer specific questions.
You will need to provide proof of age. You can do this by showing the child's birth certificate, hospital documentation, or shot record. You will need to bring a picture ID, child custody paperwork (if applicable), a current vaccination/shot record, and proof of your child’s medical insurance or medical card.
What happens after I apply?
Once you have submitted a complete application, and your information has been verified by the Center Director, your child will be placed on the waiting list. The waiting list assigns your application with prioritization points, generated through our computer database. Waiting lists are not “first come first served”. You will be contacted by center staff if your child is selected from the waiting list or once the application is one year old so that they can update your information and income. It is your responsibility to contact the center if your contact information changes.
Does Head Start provide transportation?
Some of our centers provide limited transportation. Bus services are not available at all centers and buses do not go door to door, nor do they transport children enrolled in Early Head Start. Buses generally have several “community stops” where several families that live close-by can meet the bus. All RCCDC buses are equipped with 5-point harness safety restraints for the children.
Can I volunteer at Head Start centers?
Yes, volunteers are critical to the success of Head Start. The participation of volunteers has been an effective way of mobilizing community resources to strengthen Head Start Services.
Volunteers can be parents, professionals, local residents, and members of the larger community, board members and those who serve on policy and advisory groups.
The participation of volunteers in classroom activities helps lower adult-child ratios, helps meet the need for bilingual adults for non-English speaking children and parents, and offers support to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Head Start volunteers may choose to give a few hours of time, or may volunteer every week.
Many organizations and individuals have worked with Head Start, such as Kiwanis, Rotary, local health professionals, corporations, senior citizens, and students. Community organizations also assist Head Start by donating goods and services to help local programs.
Contact your center director or our Human Resources Department at 985-318-8805 if you would like to become a volunteer. Volunteers working with children must complete a background check and attend volunteer training.
How can I find out more about Head Start?
The following links are great resources to learn more about Head Start and Early Head Start. If you are interested in finding out more about RCCDC specifically, or would like to set up a tour of one of our centers, call us at 985-318-8800 or call the center closest to you!