The Head Start program (for children ages 3-5) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services. Parents play a large role in the programs, both as primary educators of their children and as participants in administering the programs locally. Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment. Parents are also provided social services, including assistance with childcare. Services are also available to migrant and seasonal farm worker families.

How to Apply for Head Start in Illinois:

To apply for Head Start you need to contact the Head Start agency in your area. Click here to locate the office near you.

Eligibility:

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Illinois and a parent or primary caregiver responsible for a child who is too young for public school. You must also have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

If you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify if you are a U.S. national, citizen or permanent resident whose financial status is low income or very low income, who is under-employed, unemployed or about to become unemployed, facing pregnancy, less than 19 years of age yourself, or the parent or primary caregiver for children under the age of 19 years. Other qualifications may apply. You must also have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $14,521
2 $19,669
3 $24,817
4 $29,965
5 $35,113
6 $40,261
7 $45,409
8 $50,557
*For households with more than eight people, add $5,148 per additional person.

If you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify if you are a U.S. national, citizen or permanent resident whose financial status is low income or very low income, who is under-employed, unemployed or about to become unemployed, facing pregnancy, less than 19 years of age yourself, or the parent or primary caregiver for children under the age of 19 years. Other qualifications may apply.

More Information:

For more information, visit the Illinois Head Start Association website or call 618-583-2083.