Can my child attend Head Start?

Find out if your family can attend Oakland's Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Our staff are here for you, so please call us with any questions.

(510) 238-3165
City of Oakland Head Start

Posted: May 7th, 2020 12:32 PM

Last Updated: March 7th, 2023 11:00 AM

Your child can attend Head Start if your family's circumstances fit into one or more of the following sections. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions.


2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household/Family Size 100% or Below 100% to 130%

























To be income-eligible, meaning your child can attend Head Start based on your family's income, the TOTAL family income for past 12 months, OR income for previous calendar year (2022) must be verified. Income from ALL income sources must be submitted.

  • Submit 2022 Tax Statements; Tax Form 1040, or W-2, 1099MISC, and/or forms if family has not filed a Tax Statement to IRS.
  • Submit Pay Stubs that reflect total wages for last 12 months or calendar year 2022
  • Submit an Employer Letter stating total wages for last 12 months or calendar year 2022


As defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; including families housed with other families with no abode of their own, families in a shelter program and families that are unsheltered.

  • Fixed nighttime residence: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change.
  • Regular nighttime residence: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis.
  • Adequate nighttime residence: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments.

Please contact us for a Housing Survey Form if you are homeless or would like to know if you meet the definition of homelessness according to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Public Assistance

Includes TANF/CalWORKs, SNAP/CalFresh, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) only.

  • A family currently receiving TANF Child Only Payment is considered to be automatically income eligible.
  • As the name implies, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) “supplements” the family’s income. SSI benefits are not based on the family’s prior work history as are Social Security Benefits. SSI is not Survivor’s or Retirement benefits.

Foster Care

  • A child who receives cash aid through Foster Care or Kinship Care is considered a family of one.
  • No income information is required for children in Foster Care or Kinship Care.


  • Families that are over-income (above 130% based on poverty guideline chart above) are welcome to apply for Head Start/Early Head Start services.
  • Over-Income families will be considered for enrollment if the City of Oakland Head Start determines the need based off the Head Start Performance Standards and City of Oakland Head Start Policies & Procedures.
  • Families with a child(ren) with an IEP/IFSP and are over-income will receive priority over other over-income families.