How can I enroll my child in Early Head Start/Head Start?
You may submit your information online by following this link


You may contact your local Head Start or Early Head Start location to make an appointment.

Early Head Start and Head Start applications are taken year around. Applicants are contacted within two to four weeks of completing an application.

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

  • Pregnant mothers may apply for the program and receive services.
  • The age for enrollment is from six weeks after birth to two years old.

For Head Start:

  • The age for enrollment is between three and four years of age.
  • If your child will be three years old by September 15th they are eligible to apply.

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, based on income?
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 they have 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 them in the Head Start or Early Head Start?
A court order, adoption papers or relevant documents stating that the child is 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. However, without immunization records it will prevent your child from getting a slot.

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 Specialist 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.
    • Statements of family income will be needed. You can show this with bringing a copy of your taxes, pay stubs, a written statement from your employer, Social Security Disability, SSI, an/or TANF.
    • To verify your child’s birth date we will need to see a birth certificate or passport.
  • During this meeting, the Family Specialist will 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 the desired program.

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. A Family Specialist will contact you at that time to complete the application process.

Where is the nearest Head Start or Early Head Start to my home?
There are Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms in Burlington, Keokuk, Fort Madison and Mt Pleasant. Locations can be found here.

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

  • Head Start and Early Head Start have full day classrooms for parents that work or are in school.
    • If parents are not working or in school children may still be eligible for part day Head Start.
  • Classes are available Monday through Friday with attendance dependent on work schedules.
  • Classroom hours are dependent upon needs of families and current staffing, but may be no earlier than 6 AM and no later than 6 PM.

Can I stay in the classroom with my child?
Yes. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to volunteer in their child’s classroom.

When does school start and end?
Head Start classes begin in September and end in May. Early Head Start goes year around except for a three week break at the end of August.

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 Specialist for that Center to transfer your child’s application to another center without reapplying.

I’ve met with a Family Specialist and completed an application, when do I enroll my child?
A Family 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.

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 Specialist who will contact you once a slot is available.

Is there transportation available?
Transportation is provided to part day Head Start children according to availability. Early Head Start and Head Start full day children are not transported.

How can my child qualify for a Full Day slot?
For the Early Head Start and Head Start program, the 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.

Head Start and Early Head Start FAQs