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Eligibility Guidelines for Enrollment

Educare is an Early Head Start/Head Start program. All families must meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines in order to enroll in our program. Families with children who are diverse learners, or who have children with suspected or diagnosed disabilities, are encouraged to apply. 

Requirements for Determining Eligibility

Below is a list of the documents you will need to provide to assist in determining your eligibility for our Head Start program. Additional documents may be requested as well.

  • Original Birth Certificate for child(ren).
  • State ID or driver’s license with your current address and city of Chicago address.
  • A copy of your child’s medical card. The Benefits letter cannot be accepted.
  • Current Physical (or Well Child Exam) for your child’s age with labs (lead, TB, hematocrit). We will provide the form or you can download the form. Physical/Well Child Exam must be on the State of Illinois form. Physicals can be no more than six months old.
  • If your child has a diagnosed disability or is diagnosed with diverse learning support needs, you will need a copy of your child’s diagnosis or IFSP/IEP, diagnosis, evaluations.
  • If your child has chronic health needs, for example, asthma, eczema, heart murmur, seizures, etc, please provide a Health Care Action Plan from the child’s pediatrician or specialist.
  • If you are employed, two current check stubs and all of your W2s for each job you held during the year or the transcript or copy of your filed income taxes.
  • If you have a new job or paid in cash, please provide a completed Income Verification form (see ERSEA Staff), or a letter on company letterhead/stationery that includes the parent’s name, start date, rate of pay, and your work schedule, including both the hours and days you work. Please have the form and/or the letter signed by an official representative of the company that we will call to verify the information.
  • If you are self-employed, please provide your currently filed taxes (1040)/IRS Transcript.
  • If you receive unemployment, please provide a recent copy of your unemployment benefits/disbursement.
  • If you receive TANF Cash or TANF SNAP, please provide your recent statement of benefits from the Illinois Dept of Human Services indicating your benefit amount for SNAP or TANF Cash.
  • If you receive SSI, please provide your recent statement of Supplemental Security Income.

Ready to Apply?

Please utilize the list above to ensure that you have all the required documents to complete the eligibility determination process for enrollment. Missing documentation will delay processing.

If your child is eligible for Head Start services but a vacancy is not available, your child will be placed on a wait list. 

If your child is not enrolled during the current school year, your eligibility will need to be redetermined for enrollment in the next school year.

Head Start Definition of “Family” and “Income” 

  • Family: relates to household size and income eligibility is, “Family means all persons living in the same household who are supported by the child’s parent(s)’ or guardian(s)’ income; and are related to the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) by blood, marriage, or adoption; or are the child’s authorized caregiver or legally responsible party.” 1305.2
  • Income: relates to income verification and eligibility is, “Gross cash income and includes earned income, military income (including pay and allowances, except those described in Section 645(a)(3)(B) of the Act), veteran’s benefits, Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, and public assistance benefits. Additional examples of gross cash income are listed in the definition of “income” which appears in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-60-185. 

Apply for our Gold Circle of Quality accredited program today! Income is an eligibility requirement for our Early Head Start/Head Start program.