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It’s that time of year…Are you meeting the Head Start 10% requirement?

Illustrated image of a file folder and paperwork with check mark

Did you read the latest Disability Services Newsletter from the Office of Head Start that was shared with us last month? There’s a key reminder in the article that can be beneficial for your program to know, especially during this time of year.


Head Start programs have a rich history of inclusivity, particularly in providing services to children with disabilities and developmental delays. We all know of the Head Start "10% requirement" and that it mandates that at least 10% of a program's actual enrollment should consist of children eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). That itself may not need reminding. The math to get there though may require a quick refresher.


The article guides us to calculate this number “based on the cumulative number of IDEA-eligible children served over the program year divided by the cumulative number of children enrolled over the program year”. Later in the article, OHS clarifies that a child who was evaluated for IDEA eligibility and was determined eligible would count, with or without an active IEP/IFSP. So, if a family did not consent to IDEA services, this child would still count toward the 10% requirement.  

The article also reminds us that this 10% requirement is based on grant cumulative enrollment. If your program has multiple grants, each grant must be reported separately. That could be a key factor in meeting the requirement. The article also shares a few other reminders regarding eligibility for this requirement and what to do if your program does not meet the 10% threshold.  

Now let’s talk about monitoring. How do you ensure your program meets this requirement? Some programs prefer to track individually using their own spreadsheet. Others, like the programs we work with, use ChildPlus to document the ongoing process. If you also use ChildPlus, you may be familiar with the Disability report 3501. This is a management report that shows you detailed information regarding any concerns and IEP/IFSP information. You can customize this report as well. Utilizing this report can give you a linear look at a child’s process from developing a concern to receiving services through an IEP/IFSP. At the end of each grouping (by class, site, or overall), this report provides percentages. These percentages should be used to monitor the 10% requirement. 


ChildPlus also offers other reports to help track this work. Another report we like to refer to is the 3530 Disability History report. This report does just that, provides a comprehensive look at each child’s process. This report is great to review together when determining staffing supports or to follow up with the family on status. 

We encourage you to take time now to review where your program is in meeting this 10% requirement. If your program uses ChildPlus, utilize the reports and update any information that may be missing to ensure your data is correct. Remember to count all eligible children in your 10% and if falling short of number, think about connecting with your ERSEA team or requesting a waiver from OHS (more on that in a future post). Recruitment efforts can help meet this requirement by making connections with agencies that provide IDEA services. As a bonus, this article has featured resources that may help you in building partnerships. 

Interested in learning more about this topic or other ways you can improve your program? The team at Sawyer Consulting Solutions is here to help you showcase all the amazing ways your program supports the community. Schedule a free, no-obligation, no-cost discovery call with us today.

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