ERSEA (Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance)
The Preschool Division of the Birth-To-Five Head Start Program serves children between the ages of 3-5 years old and has a funded enrollment of 1136 children. There are 21 Head Start Sites housing a total of 68 classrooms. There are 18 Head Start Centers in Corpus Christi, 2 in Robstown, and one in Agua Dulce respectively. The agency employs 17 Family Advocates that assist in building and maintaining Family and Community Partnerships on behalf of the agency.
The Nueces County Community Action Agency is mandated to conduct a Community Assessment to determine the strengths, concerns, and needs of the children and families they are serving or plan to serve. The information gathered allows the program to determine services that will be provided and the manner in which they will be provided. The assessment must be conducted at least once every three years.
Eligibility: To be eligible for Head Start, a child must be at least three years old, as determined by the cut-off date used by the local public school system (1305.4(a)). Nueces County Community Action Agency has used September 1 as the cut off date for each new school year.
Families must meet or fall below the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines to be eligible for Head Start Services. The few exceptions to this would be a child with a disability or a migrant family. At least 90% of the children in the Head Start Program must fall within the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, and up to 10% of the families in the program can exceed the income guidelines with special circumstances or approval of the Head Start Director.
Recruitment: Recruitment efforts are carried out throughout the program year, but concentrated in late spring for the new school year. Recruitment is the responsibility of the Family Advocates and the ERSEA (Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance) Coordinator. Methods of Recruitment include Word of Mouth, Flyers, Posters, Public Service Announcements, Community Partners, and Door-to-Door efforts.
Selection: The Head Start Program has established selection criteria used to assist in selecting children and families into the program. The selection criteria are based on information gathered from the Community Assessment. Along with the age and income of the child, the selection criteria assists in ranking children on a waiting list based on the needs of the child and/or family. The Head Start Program maintains a waiting list throughout the year.
Enrollment: Recruitment applications will be available beginning May 1, 2009, and may be picked up at any Head Start Center or at our Family Services Office at 4760 Old Brownsville Rd. Enrollment for the 2009-2010 school years is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2009. All applications will need to be submitted at our office at 4760 Old Brownsville Rd. The Enrollment process is carried out by staff at the Family Services Office and 17 Family Advocates housed throughout the agency.
Attendance: Attendance of Head Start children is monitored daily due to the fact that the agency must maintain an average daily attendance rate of 85%. Attendance is monitored daily by teachers, site managers, and the ERSEA Coordinator. Chronic absences are monitored and after 5 unexcused absences, the child will lose their slot in the program.
Family Advocates: A close partnership is made with Head Start staff and parents at the time of enrollment. The Family Advocates are usually the first staff to have contact with the family. They initiate the Family Partnership Agreement, they assist the parents in accessing Community Services and Resources, and they encourage Parent Involvement and Participation in the program. The families are encouraged to participate in a variety of ways, from volunteering in the classrooms, to serving on a council or board as a representative of their Head Start Center. Parents and families are strongly encouraged and invited to participate in the Family and Community Partnership’s Advisory Meetings that are held twice a year. The program offers frequent training opportunities for the families and encourages feedback and suggestions.