Feeding children isn’t always easy, especially when the food often ends up on the floor instead of in children’s tummies. To help with the mealtime struggle, we’ve come up with a list of six products you can use to make feeding kids easier. [More]
January brings the promise of new beginnings and opportunities, and for us at Kaplan, it also brings the excitement of new catalogs and products. With a redesigned look and several new features, our 2017 Early Childhood Catalog can help you spend more time with the children in your care and less time finding the tools and materials you need. [More]
Are you going to be in Los Angeles, California, for the 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo? From November 2–5, thousands of attendees will take part in 600 engaging sessions and visit hundreds of exhibitors in the conference’s exhibit hall. If you’re lucky enough to be there, be sure to drop by and see us at booth 1604! [More]
At Kaplan, we understand how vital Early Head Start programs are in their communities, which is why we offer a variety of materials, services, and resources to support Early Head Start programs and Early Head Start staff. [More]
The 43rd Annual National Head Start Conference and Expo will be held in beautiful Nashville, TN, from May 16–20. With Head Start beginning a new phase in its history, this year's conference theme is "The Next Generation of Opportunity". [More]
During the preschool years, children use their bodies to play and learn while developing the various motor skills they’ll use throughout their lives to stay physically active and healthy. Your guidance will help them build a strong foundation of physical skills that will help them complete everyday activities and participate in various sports. [More]
Guest Post by Kaila Weingarten, MS Ed | The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (HSELOF, 2015) replaces the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF, 2010). It presents five broad areas of early learning, referred to as central domains. These domains reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. [More]
How many Head Start alumni do you know? Are you one? Head Start has served over 32 million young children in the past 50 years, but many people would say that the number of lives touched by the program is truly immeasurable. Countless teachers, families, and communities have all been impacted by Head Start during its 50-year history. [More]
Guest Post by Kaila Weingarten, MS Ed
The Final Rule on Eligibility published February 2015 is effective as of March 12, 2015. Its purpose is to ensure that the neediest children and families in the country benefit from Head Start and Early Head Start services first and to clarify Head Start’s eligibility procedures and enrollment requirements. It will be included in federal reviews, starting with the FY 2016 monitoring protocol (starting October 1, 2015). Although it’s only four pages long, there are many nuances you may need to address. Check out this webinar and these frequently asked questions for additional details.
Be sure to check out these new definitions: Accepted, Enrolled, Foster care, Homeless children, Migrant or Seasonal Head Start Program, Participant, Relevant time period, and Verify. Look at the revised definitions too: Enrollment, Family, and Head Start eligible.
How do these definitions matter to you?
Do you have to change terms in your policies and procedures?
Is there any paperwork that needs to be changed based on these definitions?
You know that you must verify each child’s age before entry to any Head Start program. However, you don’t have to require a birth certificate for proof. If families have difficulty procuring a birth certificate, you can accept other verification, even if it’s only the parents' statement of the age.
You need to conduct an interview with each family. However, if the in-person interview is not possible (whether it's because they're in rural areas or it’s just difficult to get families in), staff may interview the family over the telephone.You must note the reason an in-person interview wasn’t possible in the eligibility determination record.
Each participant needs an eligibility determination record. You may keep these records as a hard copy or electronically, as long as it’s confidential. These records must be kept for all currently enrolled participants for as long as they are enrolled and for one year after they have either stopped receiving services or are no longer enrolled.An eligibility determination record should include:
Copies of documents used to verify eligibility
Statement that program staff has made reasonable efforts to verify information
Statement that identifies eligibility determination
Tip: Check out the Head Start Eligibility Verification form.
A family is categorically eligible for Head Start, if the child is homeless or the child is in foster care. They can present one of the following to prove categorical eligibility:
Court order, other legal document, or government-issued document of a written statement from a government child welfare official demonstrating the child is in foster care
Written statement from official or homeless provider, school personnel, or other service agency attesting that the child is homeless or any other documentation that indicates homelessness, including documentation from a public or private agency, a declaration, information gathered on enrollment or application forms, or notes from an interview with staff to establish the child is homeless.
Other documents that establishes categorical eligibility.
Think about how you actively recruit homeless children.
Staff may accept a written declaration if a family has no income to report. The written declaration must detail the following:
Describes efforts made to verify income; and,
Explains how the family’s income was calculated; or,
Seeks information from third parties, if the family consents.
To verify homelessness, a family may declare that it is homeless, if staff, in a written statement:
Describes efforts made to verify the child is homeless; and,
Describes the child’s living situation and the specific condition under the homeless definition.
If the family consents, staff may seek information from third parties who have firsthand knowledge about the family’s eligibility.
If a family gives consent to contact third parties, program staff must adhere to program safety and privacy policies and procedures and ensure confidentiality.Be sure to include the following in your third party verification:
The family’s written consent to contact third parties for verification of eligibility
The names, titles, and affiliations of third parties
Information/documentation from the third party regarding the family’s eligibility
Your program must establish policies and procedures that describe all actions taken against staff who intentionally violate eligibility determination regulations and who enroll pregnant women and children that are not eligible to receive Head Start services.
Management and staff who make Eligibility Determinations must be trained:
Within 90 days after the rule becomes effective (June 11, 2015); and, as soon as possible
Within 90 days of hiring new staff
Governing body and policy council members must be trained:
Within 180 days (September 9, 2015) after the rule become effective; and,
Within 180 days of a new term
Programs must develop policies on how often training will be provided after the initial training.
What is required to be included in the training?
Final Rule 1305 Regulations, as well as revised program policies and procedures
Methods of collecting accurate eligibility information from families and third parties
Strategies for treating families with dignity and respect when dealing with possible issues of domestic violence, stigma and privacy
Explanation of policies and procedures taken against staff, families or participants who intentionally attempt to provide or provide false information or intentionally enroll ineligible children.
Proper preparation and training will help you implement these new provisions. Good luck!