Enrollment and Eligibility

To complete an application for Head Start services, please contact the Enrollment Department at 1-800-701-7060.

The following guidelines are used to qualify a child for Early Head Start and Head Start:

  • The child’s age, Kern County residence, family size and income must be verified
  • No less than 90 percent of enrolled children must be income eligible based upon Federal guidelines, receiving public assistance, foster placement, or homeless (see the income guidelines chart below)
  • Homeless children are prioritized for Early Head Start and Head Start enrollment, in accordance with the 2007 Head Start Act
  • No less than 10 percent of enrolled children must have a diagnosed disability and a verified Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) or and Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • The Early Head Start program serves pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and children up to 36 months of age, and their families
  • The Head Start program serves three to four-year-old children and their families; and each child’s age eligibility is calculated according to the December 2 Kindergarten eligibility date

Documentation Needed to Apply for Services

  • Birth Certificate
  • Current utility bill as evidence of Kern County residency
  • 2012 Tax Return
  • Final pay stub
  • Evidence of public assistance (Passport to Services from DHS office)
  • Custody papers, other court documents
  • Referrals (medical, social, etc.)

Placement Priorities*

  • Children with a disability (must have IFSP/IEP) regardless of income
  • Homeless children
  • Foster children
  • Recipients of Public Assistance
  • Income eligible families
  • Over income families

*Regardless of income, any family may complete an application and be placed on the wait list.

Head Start Income Eligibility Chart

2013 Poverty Guidelines
Persons in family/household Poverty guideline
1 $11,490
2 $15,510
3 $19,530
4 $23,550
5 $27,570
6 $31,590
7 $35,610
8 $39,630

Children in foster care are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start regardless of family income.

Note: Federal regulations allow up to 10% of the Head Start / Early Head Start slots to go to “over income” families. If you do not meet the income requirements and you want your child to go to Head Start, ask if there are any “over income” spaces available.