Early Childhood

The Head Start Program Performance Standards and Homelessness

This resource provides an overview of how the Head Start Program Performance Standards address homelessness, offering guidance on implementing these standards to support homeless children and their families in accessing comprehensive services and educational opportunities.

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In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued final regulations to implement the Head Start Act. These regulations, known as the Head Start Program Performance Standards, apply to Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The full regulations are available here.

§1302.11 Determining community strengths, needs, and resources.

§1302.12 Determining, verifying, and documenting eligibility.

§1302.13 Recruitment of children.

§1302.14 Selection process.

§1302.15 Enrollment.

§1302.16 Attendance.

§1302.53 Community partnerships and coordination with other early childhood and education programs.

§1302.72 Transitions between programs.

§1305.2 Terms.

[i] If a family can provide one of the documents described in this section, Head Start staff must describe efforts made to verify the accuracy of the information provided and state whether the family is eligible because they are homeless. If a family cannot provide one of the documents described in this section to prove the child is homeless, a Head Start program may accept the family’s signed declaration to that effect, if, in a written statement, program staff describe the child’s living situation that meets the definition of homeless Program staff may seek information from third parties who have firsthand knowledge about a family’s living situation, if the family gives written consent.