Head Start Eligibility & How to Apply

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally-funded programs designed to improve the school readiness of children and families in low-income families. Children receive comprehensive services that provide for the education, health and development of the child.

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•  Head Start serves low-income children and their families in the two years prior to kindergarten entry
•  Early Head Start serves low-income pregnant women and children from birth to age 3

Eligible children and families are prioritized for enrollment based on a set of enrollment criteria with priority given to those who identify as low-income, are experiencing homelessness or are placed in foster care.

Is my child(ren) eligible?

To determine eligibility, you families should contact the Head Start Agency in the community in which they reside for more information. To locate the Head Start nearest you use the locator which can be found here. The following is a list of Rhode Island programs and the areas they serve. Please contact the program that includes the community you reside in. (add PDG again)

 

Eligibility Considerations:

  • Pregnant women and children from birth to age five from families who identify as low income, according to federal poverty guidelines, are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services.
  • Children in foster care, experiencing homelessness and children from families. A foster child or any family who receives SSI benefits or any cash assistance from the Rhode Island Works program is automatically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of income.
  • Head Start programs may enroll children from families who have incomes above the federal poverty guidelines (find the annual income limits here). 

Please note a minimum of 10 percent of placements in Early Head Start and Head Start are reserved for children with disabilities.

How do I apply? 

While DHS is home to the RI Head Start Collaboration Office, the Department does not determine the eligibility for Head Start nor does it facilitate the application process. Contact the Early Head Start or Head Start program that serves your community to apply for enrollment. 

How much does it cost? 

Early Head Start and Head Start are free. 

How do I find the nearest Head Start or Early Head Start program? 

A Head Start Center locator can be found here. The following is a list of Rhode Island programs and the areas they serve. Please contact the program that includes the community you reside in.