Newly Released! Final Rule on Head Start Eligibility
- Robin Gadsden-Dupree
- Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
The below text is from an email announcement sent by the Office of Head Start on February 10, 2015. It provides information concerning the newly released Final Rule on Head Start Eligibility. T/TAS will be hosting Finding the Keys to ERSEA: Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment & Attendance in July in Charleston, SC, and will incorporate any ERSEA changes that may occur from the new 1305 Eligibility regulation.
(You can view the original web version of the below email online HERE.)
Final Rule on Head Start Eligibility
Today, the 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.
These new requirements will bolster program integrity and prevent future fraud and mismanagement. They also will ensure that every slot is reserved for an eligible child. The final rule supports Head Start’s overall mission to support low-income families and early learning. It will reduce the risk of programs enrolling over-income children while under-income children are put on waitlists. The final rule provides a balanced approach to program administration, improves overall program effectiveness, and better aligns Head Start with current practices in the field.
The final rule is available to the public at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-02-10/pdf/2015-02491.pdf