Program details. To be considered for Head Start, children must be 3 or 4 years old on or before September 7th, 2023 AND from families who are at or below the federal poverty income guidelines. Five-year-olds who are not eligible for public kindergarten may also be accepted. Family Development Services also welcomes children with special needs and disabilities.

Families with children up to 3 years old may be considered for Early Head Start if the family meets federal low-income guidelines and the parent is enrolled in school or employed full time.

Family Development Services does not provide transportation services. Community resources may be available to assist families with transportation upon request.

Check out our FAQs

How can I enroll my child in Early Head Start/Head Start?

There are several ways to submit an application for your child to enroll in Early Head Start/Head Start. You may submit your information online through this website by following this link.  Early Head Start applications are taken year around starting on June 1st through May 31st the following year.  Early Head Start applications are contacted only when there is a potential spot available in the program.  Head Start applications are also taken year around starting March 1st through April 30th the folloiwng year.   Head Start applications are contacted within 2-4 weeks of completing an application.

How old does my child have to be to get into Head Start or Early Head Start program?

For our Head Start program, the age for enrollment is between 3 and 4 years of age. (If your child will be 3 years by September 8th, he/she is also eligible to apply.) For our Early Head Start program, the age for enrollment is from 6 weeks of birth to 2 years old.

Does my child have to be potty trained?

No, Head Start does not require children to be potty trained for enrollment.

What are the income requirements? How do I know if my family qualifies?

Income requirements are set by the federal government and are changed each year. The best way to see if your family qualifies is to submit an application.

Will my child be able to apply if he/she has a special need?

Yes, we welcome children with special needs. The Multi−Disciplinary Team assigned from your child’s school district will determine the least restrictive environment of learning based from your child’s IEP or IFSP.

If the child’s biological parents are not in the household, what types of documents are required to enroll her/him in the Head Start or Early Head Start program?

Power of Attorney document with the seal, adoption papers, or relevant documents stating that the child is temporarily in your care.

Do I need to have the enrollment packet by the time of the intake?

No, the enrollment packet is not required by the intake appointment.

I’ve already applied, what is next?

If you have already completed and submitted an application there is a process that is called the Application Eligibility Review which determines if your family meets the Federal Income Guidelines and eligibility for the program. The review will also identify which program your child is eligible for. This review involves the following:

  • A Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant assigned to your first choice center will contact you to complete the application process.
  • A meeting will be arranged with you to verify your family income and your child’s birth date. To do this you will need statements of your family income for the past twelve (12) months. You can show this with bringing a copy of your 1040A form, a written statement from your employer, Social Security Disability, SSI, TANF. To verify your child’s birth date we will need to see a birth certificate or passport.
  • During this meeting, the Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant will also take statistical information about you and your family, such as the number of members in your household, your child’s ethnicity, etc.
  • After completing this review, your child’s application will be placed on the appropriate wait list to await consideration for enrollment into one of our programs that you desired.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

From the time Head Start receives your application, it takes approximately 1 to 6 weeks to be processed. An Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant will contact you at that time to complete the application process.

Where is the nearest Head Start or Early Head Start program to my home?

There are ten Head Start centers located around Marion County and one in Hamilton County. There are only few centers that have Early Head Start classes.

What are the hours of the Head Start or Early Head Start program?

Head Start Session Options: Full Day (8-hour) – Monday to Friday(5 days) 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Full Day (9-hour)- Monday-Friday(5 days)8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Early Head Start Program Session: Monday to Friday(5 days) from 7:30 am to 4:30pm

Can I stay in the classroom with my child?

Yes, parents are always welcome to volunteer at their child’s classroom.

When does school start and end?

School starts August and ends in the month of June. Head Start begins in August and ends in early June. Early Head Start is a year-around program.

Will I need to turn in another application if my child is on the wait list?

No, your child will remain on the wait list until a vacancy occurs in that center, if you move you will need to contact the Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant for that Center to transfer your child’s application to another center without reapplying. If the new school year begins and your child has not entered a classroom.

I’ve completed the enrollment packet when does my child start?

Once the packet is completed, you will need to turn in all required documents to the Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant. The Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist/Intake Assistant will contact you once a slot is available.

I’ve met with Family Partnerships, when do I enroll my child?

An Family Advocate/Family Support Specialist will contact you to complete an enrollment packet to prepare for your child’s enrollment into the program. Part of the enrollment packet will require getting a current physical exam, immunization record, Employment/School Verification (Full Day applicants only) and a dental screening for your child.

Is there transportation available? Can I ride the bus with my child?

Transportation is not provided.

How can my child qualify for a Full Day 8-hour slot?

All families qualify for the full day 8-hour slots.

How can my child qualify for a Full Day slot?

For the Head Start program, one parent or legal guardian in the household has to be either in school, working or in a vocational program to qualify for a Full Day slot. The verification documents will be in your packet.  For the Early Head Start program, both parents/guardians must be working or in school to qualify, unless the child is in first steps.