The Oregon Head Start Association (OHSA) is pleased to announce that families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are now eligible for Head Start programs. The policy change, effective immediately, will allow more families to qualify for local Head Start programs.
In an Information Memorandum released April 21, 2022, the Office of Head Start (OHS) outlined the inclusion of SNAP benefits for Head Start eligibility determination. OHS recently found that households with young children receiving SNAP benefits have an equivalent level of need to those already receiving Head Start services, and that nearly half of Head Start enrollees were also receiving SNAP benefits between 2015 and 2019.
Children who qualify for Head Start programs come from families with incomes at or below the federal poverty level, are in foster care or experiencing homelessness, and those receiving public assistance. Previously, the interpretation of public assistance only included Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
“Head Start programs have always focused on meeting the needs of our most vulnerable children and families,” said OHSA Executive Director Nancy Perin. “The impacts of the global pandemic have only increased this need. Families are struggling to recover from the effects of the last two years. This change is a critical step in helping Head Start continue to meet its mission. The Oregon Head Start Association is proud to support our local programs across the state and help our families find a path to success.”