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SAN JOSE, CA – The Office of Head Start (OHS) announced on April 21, 2022 that it has updated its policies to include families that are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The primary effect of this policy change is to eliminate barriers to families who may be faced with the challenge of navigating multiple federal programs.
“This policy change is wonderful news and has a significant impact on our families,” noted Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools. “With this change in eligibility, our Head Start and Early Head Start programs will increase the number of eligible Santa Clara and San Benito County families by approximately 25 percent. For example, a family of four with a household income of $55,000 that is participating in SNAP would now be eligible to participate in the Head Start/Early Head Start learning programs.”
President Biden’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government requires federal agencies to reduce the challenge of navigating multiple eligibility processes and support better alignment and coordination across federal public benefit programs. The former interpretation of public assistance did not include SNAP as an eligibility factor for Head Start programs even though the majority of households with young children who receive SNAP benefits have incomes below 100% of poverty. Reducing the paperwork burden to qualify for multiple federal services will allow programs to reach more families in need.
The Office of Head Start helps young children from low-income families prepare to succeed in school through local programs. Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote children's development through services that support early learning, health, and family well-being. Participating in early learning programs helps even the youngest student establish healthy habits that lead to school success.
“When children participate in early learning programs, they are more likely to read at or beyond grade-level by third grade, have higher graduation rates, and are more likely to participate in higher education,” Dr. Dewan stated.
The Santa Clara County Office of Education currently has over 20 Head Start/Early Head Start programs. For more information, please visit https://www.sccoe.org/depts/educational-services/early-learning-services/Pages/home.aspx
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Office of Education, please visit www.sccoe.org and follow us @SCCOE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.