Head Start: Undercover Testing Finds Fraud and Abuse at Selected Head Start Centers Page: 7 of 30
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income level for the over-income families. If the Head Start program has
implemented policies and procedures that ensure that the program is
meeting the needs of children eligible under the primary criteria and
prioritizes their enrollment in the program, then the program may also fill
up to 35 percent of its slots with children from families with income below
130 percent of the poverty line. Programs filling slots under this provision
are subject to additional reporting requirements. Children from families
with incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line, and children who
qualify under one of the primary eligibility criteria, are referred to as
"under-income" for the purposes of this report. In addition, unless a
program applies for and receives a waiver, at least 10 percent of each
program's total slots must be filled with children with disabilities who are
determined to be eligible for special education and related services or
early intervention services. To qualify for the Migrant and Seasonal Head
Start program, families must have changed their residence within the
preceding 24 months for the purpose of engaging in certain agricultural
work, and the families' incomes must come primarily from this type of
work. In enrolling families in Head Start, program staff are to review
documentation of income and employment to certify that each family is
eligible. Head Start services are to be provided free of charge to eligible
OHS assigns each grantee a specific number of children and families that it
is required to serve, known as the funded enrollment. Head Start statutes
and regulations require grantees to maintain enrollment at 100 percent of
the funded enrollment level. If a child stops attending the program, after
the grantee has attempted, unsuccessfully, to get the child back in regular
attendance, the grantee must reopen that spot as a vacancy and no more
than 30 calendar days may elapse before the grantee fills the vacancy;
otherwise, OHS considers the grantee underenrolled.4 To facilitate the
prompt filling of vacancies, Head Start statutes and regulations require
each grantee to maintain a wait list that ranks children according to its
selection criteria and to select those with the greatest need for services.
Grantees report enrollment numbers monthly, and those that are
underenrolled for 4 consecutive months must receive technical assistance
from OHS and work to develop and implement a plan to eliminate
underenrollment. A grantee that continues to operate with less than 97
4If fewer than 60 days remain in the grantee's program year at the time an enrollment
vacancy occurs, the grantee can choose not to fill the vacancy without OHS considering it
GAO-10-1049 Head Start
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Head Start: Undercover Testing Finds Fraud and Abuse at Selected Head Start Centers, report, September 28, 2010; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc296264/m1/7/: accessed May 27, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.