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All Goverment Program benefits and Application form, income limits, documents etc.
All Goverment Program benefits and Application form, income limits, documents etc.
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Oklahoma Head Start Program Benefits

Head Start is a Federal program that promotes the school readiness of children from birth to age five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children's growth in many areas such as language, literacy, and social and emotional development. 

Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher. These programs help build relationships with families that support family well-being and many other important areas. Many Head Start programs also provide Early Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers, and pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the Federal poverty level.

Purpose of the Oklahoma Head Start Program

The Oklahoma Head Start program, like Head Start programs across the United States, serves a vital purpose in promoting the well-being and school readiness of young children from low-income families. The overarching goals and purposes of the Oklahoma Head Start Program align with the broader objectives of the national Head Start initiative. Some key purposes include:

  • School Readiness: The primary purpose of Head Start is to enhance the school readiness of young children from low-income families. This involves providing a comprehensive early childhood education that encompasses cognitive, social, and emotional development to prepare children for success in school.
  • Early Childhood Development: Head Start focuses on fostering the development of the whole child. This includes cognitive skills, language development, motor skills, and social-emotional skills. The program recognizes the importance of early experiences in shaping a child's future success.
  • Health and Nutrition: Head Start aims to address the health and nutritional needs of children. This involves providing regular health check-ups, screenings, and ensuring that children receive nutritious meals and snacks. By addressing health and nutrition, the program supports overall well-being and readiness to learn.
  • Family Engagement: Head Start recognizes the role of families in a child's development. The program promotes strong family engagement through activities such as parent-teacher conferences, workshops, and other opportunities for parents to be actively involved in their child's education.
  • Support for Low-Income Families: The program is specifically designed to support families with limited financial resources. By providing educational, health, and social services, Head Start aims to break the cycle of poverty by giving children a strong foundation for future success.
  • Community Collaboration: Head Start programs often collaborate with community organizations, agencies, and services to create a network of support for children and families. This collaborative approach helps address a range of needs that families may face beyond the classroom.
  • Inclusion of Children with Disabilities: Head Start is committed to the inclusion of children with disabilities. The program strives to create inclusive learning environments that support the diverse needs of all children, including those with disabilities.
  • Comprehensive Services: The program takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to early childhood development. This includes not only educational components but also health services, nutrition, and social services to address the multifaceted needs of participating families.

Overall, the Oklahoma Head Start Program, like other Head Start programs nationwide, plays a crucial role in promoting equity in early childhood education and supporting the healthy development of children in low-income communities.

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Oklahoma Head Start Program Benefits

The Head Start program is a federal initiative in the United States that aims to promote school readiness for children from low-income families. While specific benefits can vary based on individual circumstances and program implementation, here are some general benefits associated with the Head Start program in Oklahoma:

  • Educational Services: Head Start provides early childhood education services to help children develop the skills they need to be successful in school. This includes activities that promote cognitive, social, and emotional development.
  • Health Services: The program offers health screenings, nutritious meals, and access to medical and dental care to ensure that children are healthy and ready to learn. Regular health check-ups and immunizations are often part of the program.
  • Parental Involvement: Head Start encourages parental involvement in a child's education. This may include parent-teacher conferences, workshops, and other activities that help parents support their child's learning and development.
  • Nutrition: The program provides nutritious meals and snacks to ensure that children receive the proper nutrition for their growth and development.
  • Social Services: Head Start often connects families with social services and resources that can address specific needs, such as housing assistance, employment support, and access to community resources.
  • Special Needs Services: Head Start programs work to identify and address any special needs or developmental concerns a child may have, providing additional support and services as needed.
  • Transportation: Some Head Start programs offer transportation services to ensure that children can attend the program regularly, even if their families face transportation challenges.
  • Family Support: Head Start recognizes the importance of the family unit in a child's development. The program may offer support and resources to families to strengthen family bonds and create a supportive home environment.
  • Community Engagement: Head Start often collaborates with community organizations and agencies to create a network of support for children and their families, promoting a comprehensive approach to early childhood development.

It's important to note that the specific benefits can vary by program and location, and changes to the program may occur over time. Families interested in participating in the Head Start program in Oklahoma should contact their local Head Start program to get detailed and current information about the services offered.

Who is eligible for Oklahoma Head Start Program Benefits

Children from birth to age five from families with low income, according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the Federal government, are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income) are also eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of income.

Head Start programs may enroll children from families that have incomes above the Poverty Guidelines. Pregnant women may also be eligible for Early Head Start. We strongly recommend you contact the Head Start or Early Head Start in your community to find out about their local requirements for enrolling your child and for further guidance. If there is not a space for you and your child at this time, ask the program to put your family on the waiting list.

Head Start Approach

Head Start programs support children's growth from birth to age 5 through services that support early learning and development, health, and family well-being. Head Start staff actively engage parents, recognizing family participation throughout the program as key to strong child outcomes. Head Start services are available at no cost to children ages birth to 5 in eligible families. Head Start preschool services work with families with children ages 3 to 5. 

Early Head Start services work with families with children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families. Many programs operate both Head Start preschool and Early Head Start services. Programs deliver child development services in center-based, home-based, or family child care settings. All Head Start programs continually work toward our mission for eligible children and families to receive high-quality services in safe and healthy settings that prepare children for school and life.

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Services for Children and Families

Head Start programs are helping children get ready to succeed in school and in life through learning experiences tailored to their changing needs and abilities.

Early Learning and Development

Our programs are:

  • Building strong relationships as the foundational driver for early learning
  • Engaging families in their child’s learning and recognizing parents as a child’s first and most influential teacher
  • Implementing effective practices to promote children’s growth in five key domains: approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and physical development
  • Encouraging learning through play, creative expression, and guided activities with schedules and lesson plans that include the cultural and language heritage of each child and family in relevant ways
  • Creating welcoming learning environments in indoor and outdoor settings that are well-organized and safe
  • Conducting ongoing screenings and assessments to ensure each child is making progress, and collaborating with parents and community agencies when further assessment is needed
  • Supporting the full inclusion of children with disabilities and building on their strengths

Health and Wellness

Our programs are:

  • Engaging all children in both indoor and outdoor physical activity
  • Serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks that are healthy and nutritious
  • Ensuring children receive medical, dental, hearing, vision, and behavioral screening
  • Making sure children brush their teeth after meals and promoting oral health and hygiene
  • Helping families understand and support their child’s health and behavioral health needs
  • Assisting with mental health services for children and families, as needed
  • Building resilience to help children and families heal from traumatic experiences or events and overwhelming situations

Family Well-being

Our programs are:

  • Inviting parents to share information and insights about their child
  • Celebrating the role of fathers and male caregivers through father engagement
  • Engaging parents as their child’s lifelong advocate
  • Welcoming parents to offer ways to improve children and families’ experiences in the program, including through leadership roles on the Policy Council
  • Supporting child and family transitions when the child is ready for the next step, to Head Start, kindergarten, or another early childhood program

Meeting Community Needs

To reach the children and families who need Head Start services the most, programs are designed according to community need. Directly funded at the local level, Head Start programs tailor their programs as appropriate for families in the designated service area. These programs may be provided in different settings and hours according to the needs indicated by their community assessment.

Federal-to-Local Funding Model

The federal government funds Head Start programs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Across the country, school districts, nonprofit and for-profit groups, faith-based institutions, tribal councils, and other organizations qualify to become a Head Start recipient and receive federal funding. 

The federal-to-local model allows local leaders to create a Head Start experience that is responsive to the unique and specific needs of their community. Many programs are combining funding from federal, state, and local sources to maximize service delivery and continuity. Head Start Collaboration Offices facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state entities that provide services to benefit low-income children and their families.

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs serve children ages birth to 5 from families engaged in agricultural work, either seasonally or across geographic regions. American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs serve children from federally recognized tribes and others in their communities. Head Start programs either provide transportation services or assist families to arrange transportation of children to program activities.

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Eligibility and Enrollment

Head Start services are for children from birth to compulsory school age, as well as pregnant people and expectant families. Eligible participants include children whose families meet the federal low-income guidelines — that is, whose incomes are at or below the federal poverty guidelines or who participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program public assistance services. 

Other eligible participants include children who are in the foster care system or experiencing homelessness. Programs may also accept a limited number of children who do not meet any of those eligibility criteria. MSHS programs have specific eligibility requirements for the children of farmworkers. AIAN Head Start programs enroll tribal children from reservations or nearby areas. 

All programs enroll children with disabilities and welcome children who speak a language other than English at home. As there are generally more eligible children than is supported by program funding, each program maintains a waiting list according to their selection criteria for when a spot becomes available.

Program Settings

Head Start services are delivered in a variety of settings, sometimes referred to as “options.” This consistent, supportive setting is designed to foster strong relationships between program staff, families, and children. The selection of settings offered by any Head Start program is determined by its assessment of community needs.

  • Center-based services are located in child development centers. More than half of Head Start children are enrolled in center-based services, five days per week, for at least six hours per day.
  • Home-based services are mostly delivered in a family’s own home, along with planned group socialization activities. More than a third of children enrolled in Early Head Start programs receive home-based services.
  • Family child care services are located in a family-based child care setting.
  • Locally-designed services are often delivered through some combination of the above settings, depending on the needs of the community.


Since 1965, Head Start programs have reached 40 million children and their families. Children who enrolled in Head Start programs are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, have improved social, emotional, and behavioral development, and are better prepared to be parents themselves than similar children who did not attend the program. Children enrolled in Early Head Start programs have significantly fewer child welfare encounters related to sexual or physical abuse between the ages of 5 and 9 than those who don’t attend.

Research consistently shows a broad pattern of impacts for children at the end of their Head Start enrollment. While these benefits may appear to diminish in the early grades, economic benefits emerge as children become adults. The Head Start program’s two-generation design — coupled with research-based, high-quality comprehensive services — has the power to change the trajectory for children’s outcomes.

Oklahoma Head Start Program Income Limits

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (Per Year)

For households with more than eight people, add $5,140 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

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Documents Required for Oklahoma Head Start Program

The specific documentation required for enrollment in the Oklahoma Head Start Program may vary depending on the local program and its policies. However, there are common documents and information that are typically requested during the application process. Families interested in enrolling their children in the Head Start Program in Oklahoma should contact their local Head Start program for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here is a general list of documents that may be required:

Proof of Income:

  • Recent pay stubs
  • W-2 forms
  • Tax returns
  • Documentation of public assistance (e.g., TANF, SNAP)

Proof of Residence:

  • Utility bills (electricity, water, gas)
  • Lease agreement or mortgage statement

Health Information:

  • Health insurance information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Any relevant health records or information about medical conditions or special needs

Child's Birth Certificate: A copy of the child's birth certificate or other official documentation of age

Immunization Records: Documentation of the child's up-to-date immunizations

Social Security Numbers: Social Security numbers for all family members

Parent/Guardian Identification: Photo ID (driver's license, state ID, passport) for parent/guardian

Proof of Legal Guardianship: Legal documentation establishing guardianship, if applicable

IEP or IFSP (Individualized Education Program/Individualized Family Service Plan), if applicable: If a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) due to special needs, relevant documentation may be required.

Other Documentation: Other documents specific to the local program's requirements

It's important to note that the Head Start Program values the privacy and confidentiality of families applying for services. The specific documentation requirements can vary by program, and some programs may have additional requirements or variations. Families are encouraged to contact their local Head Start program directly to inquire about the necessary documents and the application process. The program staff is typically available to assist families in understanding the requirements and completing the application process.

Required Eligibility for the Oklahoma Head Start Program

Eligibility criteria for the Oklahoma Head Start Program, as with Head Start programs across the United States, are primarily based on the income of the family and certain categorical requirements. While specific details can vary by program, the federal guidelines set by the Office of Head Start provide a general framework for eligibility. Families should contact their local Head Start program for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here are common eligibility criteria:

  • Income Eligibility: The program is designed to serve children from low-income families. Eligibility is often determined by comparing the family's income to the federal poverty guidelines. Families with incomes at or below the poverty line are generally eligible.
  • Categorical Eligibility: Certain categorical criteria may also qualify a family for Head Start, including homelessness, receiving public assistance, or having a child with a disability.
  • Age Eligibility: Head Start typically serves children ages three to five years old. Children must be at least three years old by a specific date, depending on the program's enrollment policies.
  • Residency: Families must reside in the service area covered by the Head Start program to be eligible.
  • Priority for Certain Groups: Head Start programs may give priority to certain groups, such as children with disabilities or children in foster care.
  • Documentation: Families are usually required to provide documentation to verify eligibility, including proof of income, proof of residency, the child's birth certificate, and other relevant information.
  • Community Priorities: Some Head Start programs may have additional criteria based on community needs and priorities.

It's important to note that Head Start programs are committed to providing services to those who need them the most, and they often prioritize the most vulnerable children and families in their communities. Families interested in enrolling their children in the Oklahoma Head Start Program should contact their local Head Start program directly to inquire about eligibility criteria, required documentation, and the application process. The program staff is usually available to assist families throughout the application process and to answer any specific questions about eligibility.

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How do I apply for Oklahoma Head Start?

To apply for Head Start and Early Head Start, contact the program serving your community using the Head Start Locator tool below. Your local program will provide the required forms and answer your questions. They will also tell you what documents you should bring with you to apply.

How To Apply For Oklahoma Head Start Program

To apply for the Oklahoma Head Start Program, you can follow these general steps. Keep in mind that specific application processes may vary by location, so it's recommended to contact your local Head Start program for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here's a general guide:

  • Locate Your Local Head Start Program: Find the Head Start program that serves your community. You can do this by visiting the official website of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or by contacting your local Department of Human Services office.
  • Contact the Head Start Program: Reach out to the local Head Start program to inquire about the application process. You can find contact information on the program's website or by calling the program directly.
  • Attend an Information Session or Orientation: Some Head Start programs may offer information sessions or orientations for parents. Attend one of these sessions to learn more about the program, its services, and the application process.
  • Gather Required Documents: Collect the necessary documents for the application. This may include proof of income, proof of residency, the child's birth certificate, immunization records, and any other documentation specified by the program.
  • Complete the Application: Obtain an application form from the Head Start program, either in person or online. Fill out the application form accurately and completely. Be sure to provide all required information and attach the necessary documents.
  • Submit the Application: Submit the completed application and required documents to the Head Start program. Some programs may accept applications in person, by mail, or online. Check with the program to determine the preferred submission method.
  • Follow Up: After submitting the application, follow up with the Head Start program to ensure that they have received all necessary documents and information. This may involve contacting the program by phone or visiting in person.
  • Participate in the Eligibility Determination Process: The Head Start program will review your application and determine eligibility based on income, age, and other criteria. Be prepared to provide any additional information or clarification as needed.
  • Wait for Notification: Once the eligibility determination process is complete, wait for notification from the Head Start program regarding the status of your application. This notification will inform you whether your child has been accepted into the program.
  • Complete Enrollment Process: If your child is accepted into the Head Start program, follow the instructions provided by the program to complete the enrollment process. This may involve attending an orientation session and providing additional information.

Remember that it's crucial to contact your local Head Start program for specific details on the application process, eligibility criteria, and required documentation. They can guide you through the process and provide information tailored to your community's Head Start program.

Oklahoma Head Start Program Phone Number

To find a Head Start or Early Head Start program near you, call 1-866-763-6481 (toll-free) or use the Head Start Locator: 1-866-763-6481.