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Head Start Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why Head Start?

    The Head Start approach to school readiness means that children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning, and schools are ready for children.

    All children receive developmental, behavioral, vision and hearing screenings. We work with families to ensure that children have medical and dental care, and proper nutrition. Children eat healthy meals and snacks every day.

  • How Much Does it Cost?

    Head Start and Early Head Start services are offered at no cost.

  • Is My Child Eligible?

    We accept applications from all families regardless of income. Though families are prioritized whose incomes are under 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

    To be eligible, your child must:

    • Be age-eligible (birth to 3 years for Early Head Start and 3 to 5 years for Head Start).
    • Serving Washington County residents in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard/Tualatin, Sherwood, and parts of SW & NW Portland.
  • How Do You Verify Family Income?

    You must include copies of one or more of the following documents for the last 12 months from the date of your application:

    • Most recent pay stub and W-2 forms.
    • Most recent pay stub and income tax forms (1040 or 1040A).
    • 12 months of pay stubs.
    • Social Security Benefits or SSI award letter.
    • Letter from your employer stating employment dates and wages paid.
    • Verification of unemployment payments, such as a printout of payments from the Employment Division, income tax form, or Form 1099-G.
    • TANF (Cash Assistance) Award Letter from Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).
    • Foster Care award letter.
    • Income Declaration Statement.
    • SNAP (Food Stamps) Award Letter from Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).
  • How Do I Apply?

    Click on the links below to complete an online pre-application or download an application. Complete the information and mail it to 1001 SW Baseline St., Hillsboro, OR 97123 or fax it to 971-223-6114. You can also email it to us at -- Be sure to attach proof of your family income.

  • What Happens After I Apply?

    When we receive your completed application, our enrollment staff will verify your child’s eligibility and will add your child’s name to a wait list. You will be contacted when a slot for your child is open. The processing of an application may take 4-6 weeks. If you have any urgent questions or need to make changes to your application, you can contact our Enrollment department at 503-693-3262 or by email at

  • What Will My Child Learn?

    Our program uses the research-based Creative Curriculum developed by Teaching Strategies, Inc. to plan lessons that help children grow and learn in several educational domains:

    • Social-emotional development
    • Physical development (gross motor and fine motor)
    • Language
    • Cognitive skills
    • Literacy
    • Mathematics
  • What Does “School Readiness” Mean?

    Children who grow up in poverty often begin school at a disadvantage, especially in language. This knowledge gap persists throughout school and lowers achievement levels for low-income children. Early childhood education can address these gaps before children enter kindergarten. Our program has developed school readiness goals that are aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, with state early learning standards, and with the requirements and expectations of the schools the children will be attending. We make every effort to ensure that children are well prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

  • What if My Child Has a Disability?

    Children with disabilities and/or special needs are welcome in Head Start and participate along with their peers in classroom activities. At least 10 percent of enrollment opportunities are always made available to children with special needs. Through a partnership with the Northwest Regional Education Service District, we receive consultation services in all of our classrooms and operate several supported classrooms staffed by Head Start teachers and educational assistants from the NWRESD.

  • What if My Child Does not Speak English?

    Children who do not yet speak English are welcome. Over 50 percent of children in our program speak a language other than English at home. Our staff is committed to providing high quality education for dual language learners. Program materials are available in English and Spanish. We also provide interpretation services so that parents who do not speak English can fully participate in the program.

  • How Do Parents Participate in Head Start?

    Parents are the primary educators of their children. Every family in our program receives Home Visits. During these visits, teachers show parents how to use the home as a learning environment to support their children’s development.

    Parents also participate in Parent Site Meetings where topics of interest to families are presented. Interpretation services are available for parents who do not speak English.

    Finally, parents who wish to participate in the shared governance of the program are invited to join Policy Council. Policy Council representatives participate in the decision-making process about the nature and operation of the program, and work as advocates on issues affecting children and families. Policy Council members build leadership skills and connections to their communities.