< All Topics

Eligibility Requirements


NOCAC Staff conducts an in person interview at the home with each family.  All information is documented on the NOCAC Child Development Enrollment Application.


Each family is prescreened for income and age eligibility.  Once a family is determined eligible through the prescreening process a home visit with a Family Advocate (FA) is scheduled to complete the application paperwork.

NOCAC Child Development can decide to do a phone application process if it is determined that a home visit is not possible.  An example of this happening was during a pandemic.



  1. Head Start
    1. A participant must be at least three years old or turn three years old by the Kindergarten cutoff date in the school district in which the participant resides.
      1. Defiance County: September 30th
      2. Fulton County: August 1st
      3. Henry County: August 1st
      4. Paulding County: August 1st
      5. Williams County: August 1st
        1. Bryan August 1st.  The rest September 30th.
    2. A participant can not be older than the age required to attend school.
      1. Exception are considered.  Reference Enrollment Policy & Procedure.
  2. Early Head Start
    1. In order to participate in Early Head Start Program you must be:
      1. A child 0-3 years of age
      2. Or a pregnant woman



  1. A participant is eligible for NOCAC Child Development if:
    1. A family’s income is equal to or below 100% the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG);
    2. The family is receiving Public Assistance including, but not limited to TANF and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  2. A participant is categorically eligible (no proof of income required) if:
    1. A participant is determined homeless, as defined under the guidance of the McKinney Vento Act
    2. A participant is in Foster Care



  1. NOCAC Child Development may enroll in additional 35% of participants whose families do not meet the above eligibility criteria whose income is between 101% and 130% of the Federal Poverty Guideline, if NOCAC Child Development has established and implements outreach to ensure it is meeting the needs of eligible participants first.
  2. NOCAC Child Development may enroll a participant whose family income is above 131% of the Federal Poverty Guideline and who would benefit from services, provided that these participants only make up to 10% of NOCAC Child Development program’s enrollment.



  1. NOCAC Head Start staff will verify a child’s age by examining:
    1. State issued birth certificate
    2. Hospital record of birth
    3. Shot record showing the birth date
    4. NOCAC Child Development does not require families to provide documents that confirm a participant’s age, if doing so creates a barrier for the family to enroll the child.
      1. NOCAC staff will assist the family in getting documents once the child has been enrolled.



  1. To verify eligibility based on income:
    1. NOCAC staff verifies a family’s income, including any child support monies received before determining eligibility to participate in the program.  This documentation is kept locked in the child’s file at the Central Office.
      1. Income collected for determination of eligibility must be from the relevant time period.
        1. Which is defined as 12 months preceding the month in which the application is submitted;
          1. For example: July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020 if taking an application in August of 2020.
        2. The previous year tax documentation.
          1. For example: 2018 if taking an application for the 2019/2020 program year.
    2. NOCAC staff accepts and examines one of the following in order to determine income eligibility:
      1. Tax form 1040
      2. W-2 forms
      3. Unemployment documentation
      4. Pay stubs
      5. Child Support documentation
      6. Zero Income Statement found on the application
      7. Public Assistance documentation
      8. Self Employed documentation
      9. Social Security
  2. NOCAC Child Development determines a participant homeless:
    1. A child is determined homeless under the guidance of the McKinney Vento Act, through information gathered at the initial home visit application appointment.
  3. NOCAC Child Development determines a participant to be in Foster Care through documentation from at least one of the following:
    1. A court order from a state entity
    2. A Safety Plan from Child Protective Services (CPS)

Verification of income must be done by someone other than who completed the initial enrollment application.  Verification validates the accuracy by initialing the income section on the forth page of the application as well as the OHS Eligibility Form attached to the back of the application.




  1. If a participant is determined eligible in a NOCAC Child Development program year, he or she will remain eligible through the end of the succeeding program year unless there is a compelling reason for the participant not to remain in NOCAC Child Development program.
    1. Families who are over income are not guaranteed enrollment for the next program year.
      1. Eligible families must be served first.


  1. Once a child is determined to be eligible for NOCAC Early Head Start they remain in the program until their 3rd birthday.

Transitioning from NOCAC Early Head Start into NOCAC Head Start

  1. Once a NOCAC Early Head Start participant turns 2 years and 6 months of age the Family Advocate will collect the most recent income verification from the family to determine if the family will be income eligible for the NOCAC Head Start Program.
  2. When a participant is determined income eligible the FA will then schedule a time to do the NOCAC Head Start application on or as close as possible after the participant’s third birthday.
    1. For example: An Early Head Start participants third birthday falls on February 28, 2020.  The FA can collect 2019 or the most accurate income to determine eligibility but cannot do the application until on or after February 28, 2020 for the 2019/2020 program year.
  3. If a NOCAC Early Head Start participant turns three after the current program year, a FA can do the application after January 1st.
    1. The application is used for the following program year only
    2. For example: an Early Head Start participant’s third birthday falls on June 28, 2020, the FA can do the application any time after January 1, 2020 for the 2020/2021 program year.
  4. Once a participant is determined eligible for the NOCAC Head Start program:
    1. A transition plan will be completed with the family in order to determine the best placement for the participant entering preschool.



NOCAC Child Development keeps eligibility determination records for those currently enrolled and for seven program years after the applicant is no longer enrolled.



Any NOCAC staff who intentionally violates Federal and Program eligibility determination regulations will be subject to action as outlined in the Agency’s Personnel Policies Handbook (located at www.nocac.org).



  1. NOCAC Child Development trains all governing body, such as Policy Council and Board representatives, management, and staff who determine eligibility on:
    1. Applicable federal regulations and
    2. Program policies and procedures.
    3. Policy Council and NOCAC Board Representatives are trained at the November meeting and no later than 180 days of becoming a representative.
    4. Training includes but is not limited to:
      1. Methods on how to collect, complete, and accurate eligibility information from families and third party sources;
      2. Incorporate strategies for treating families with dignity and respect and for dealing with possible issues of domestic violence, stigma, and privacy; and,
      3. Explanation of program policies and procedures that describe actions taken against staff, families, or participants who attempt to provide or intentionally provide false information.
    5. Staff training:
      1. All NOCAC staff are trained at the beginning of each program year.
      2. New NOCAC staff members are trained at their New Staff Orientation meeting with the Family & Community Engagement Manager or Assistant within 30 days of hire.
      3. NOCAC Child Development will provide ongoing training after the initial training.


Forms and Additional Guidance:

This policy complies with the following

Head Start Program Performance Standard:    1302.12
ODJFS Child Care Manual:    
CACFP Regulation:    
Caring for Our Children:    
Other Sources:    


Effective Date:   8/7/17 Reviewed Date:   3/27/20,2/19/21
Approved By Policy Council:   8/7/17 Revision Approved By Policy Council:    
Table of Contents