Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Social Services - ERSEA
Disabilities / Mental Health
Health / Nutrition
Q. Are home visits and conferences necessary?
A. Yes. In accordance with Head Start Performance Standards, once the assessments are complete, teachers will schedule a home visit or conference with Parents to review the information related to the screenings and/or assessments. Parents and teachers, together, will set goals for the child. There are two home visits, and two conferences scheduled per year to discuss the development of the child. However, a Parent may request a conference at any time if they have concerns they want to discuss.
Q. At what age does my child need to start seeing a dentist?
A. Dental examinations are due annually beginning at one year of age.
Q. Can I change something in my child’s file?
A. Yes. Parents have the right to ask Head Start/EHS to amend information in the child record that the parent believes is inaccurate, misleading, or violates the child’s privacy. The program must consider the parent’s request and, if the request is denied, render a written decision to the parent within a reasonable time that informs the parent of the right to a hearing.
Q. Can I have a copy of my child’s file?
A. Head Start must provide parent, free of charge, an initial copy of child records disclosed to third parties with parental consent and, upon parent request, an initial copy of child records disclosed to third parties [without consent], unless the disclosure was for a court that ordered neither the subpoena, its contents, nor the information furnished in response be disclosed.
Q. Can I see my child’s files?
A. Yes. Parent’s have the right to inspect their child’s record. Records must be made available to parent within 45 days of request.
Q. Do I need to bring my child’s infant formula, diapers and/or training pants?
A. Our program provides formula, diapers and training pants during hours of operation. At enrollment, you may be asked to provide special formulas for a short period to allow us adequate time to acquire appropriate formulas as ordered by the child’s physician.
Q. Do I need to provide school supplies?
A. No. It is helpful for your child to have their own backpack with a change of clothes. Head Start provides everything your child will need.
Q. Does Head Start Accept Children with Disabilities or Special Needs?
A. The Head Start Act of 2007 requires that "not less than 10 percent of the total number of children actually enrolled by each Head Start agency and each delegate agency will be children with disabilities who are determined to be eligible for special education and related services, or early intervention services...by the State or local agency providing services under section 619 or part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.)." [Resource: eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov]
Q. Does SHARE Head Start provide transportation?
A. We provide bus transportation in limited areas. Routes are designed based on need. Parents should make their need known during the application phase. Mid-year requests may be considered depending on need and availability of driver services.
Q. How can Head Start help parents and families?
A. Many parents who enroll their children in Head Start also receive educational services themselves. We have assisted many of our parents in obtaining their GEDs and enrolling in college classes. Some parents enroll in English as a Second Language classes and receive guidance on the path to citizenship. Parents also receive education about child rearing, as well as job training. Each family is different, so depending on individual needs, parents and other family members may also be referred to medical, social welfare or employment specialists for services.
Q. How can I get involved with Head Start?
A. Head Start welcomes volunteers. By becoming a volunteer, you can help in the classroom and on field trips, assist in renovating centers, and support parent education. Your volunteer experience may later qualify you for training which can help you find employment in the child care field.
Q. How Do I Find a Head Start Program Near Me?
A. If you need help finding a Head Start program in your area, please visit this website for Center Listings under Head Start.
Q. How does education staff communicate with parents?
A. A clear and ongoing communication system between the education staff and parents is critical. Through this communication, together, teachers and parents ensure each child’s individual education goals as well as social emotional needs are being met. A minimum of two home visits and two staff/parent conferences are required each program year; however, it is encouraged that teachers visit whenever they feel a need to talk with the family. During this time, the education objectives are put into practical situations and experiences which are discussed and gone over. Other types of communication can involve the following: • Telephone conversations • Visits to centers • Written communication (screenings, exams, newsletters, etc.) • Classroom and field trip participation • Emails and electronic messaging
Q. How much time do I need to volunteer?
A. This is really up to you. You can tailor your volunteer experience to your schedule and availability.
Q. If my preschool (3-5 yrs.) child just had a physical six months ago, does he/she need another physical exam?
A. Physical examinations are due according to SC state guidelines. Preschool children will need a physical exam annually. Simply have your physician complete our physical form according to the date of your child’s last physical examination.
Q. If needed, will someone give my child medication during the day?
A. With proper documentation and a physician’s authorization form, staff may administer emergency medications to children. However, it is not our practice to administer over-the-counter medications or those not required during hours of operation.
Q. Is My Child Eligible for Head Start or Early Head Start?
A. Children from birth to age five from families with low income, according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the federal government, are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are categorically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of income. Head Start programs may enroll up to 10% of children from families that have incomes above the Poverty Guidelines. Programs may also serve up to an additional 35% of children from families whose incomes are above the Poverty Guidelines, but below 130% of the poverty line if the program can ensure that certain conditions have been met. Pregnant women may also be eligible for Early Head Start. [Resource: eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov]
Q. Is my child too young to have a mental health problem?
A. Children can develop the same mental health problems as adults, but their symptoms may be different. The mental well-being of a child I just as important as the physical well-being of a child. Good mental health allows children to develop and cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded adults. Head Start partners with the school districts and other agencies to provide early Intervention to children with social/emotional needs.
Q. Is there a curriculum that is implemented in the Head Start classrooms?
A. Our program has a School Readiness plan that includes goals for children birth to five. Our program supports these goals by implementing the High Scope Curriculum, which children learn through play. High Scope uses Key Developmental Indicators (KDI’S) to guide learning for children at each developmental level.
Q. What areas of development can my child be tested in if I have concerns about his development, speech or behavior?
A. Language- how many words he/she can say or carry on conversation or say sentences. Articulation / how he pronounces words; and produce sentences. Ex. stutters Gross motor- Physical capabilities- can he jump, run, kick, throw a ball ride bike or trike Fine Motor/ How the child uses his hands/fingers to write or cut scissors Developmental- delays or abnormal patterns. Ex. can child follow 1, 2 or 3 step directions, can he/she understand what is ask of him/her to do? Social/emotional- interact with others. Express feelings and thoughts, how well child respond with peers or others, does he cry a lot, shows empathy for others, plays with or by himself. Challenging / Inappropriate Behaviors- aggressive, hitting or hurting his friends or others, biting, spitting throwing furniture and objects at others.
Q. What documentation is required to volunteer?
A. As a regular volunteer (volunteer three or more days a week), you will submit documentation from your healthcare provider, indicating that you are free from TB. You will also complete a DSS 2924 Central Registry Check to determine that you have no incidences of child abuse and neglect on record with the state of South Carolina. *During the COVID-19 Pandemic we are limiting the number of visitors to our program.
Q. What does the Parent and Staff Conference involve?
A. Both Head Start and Early Head Start teachers perform home visits and teacher/parent conferences. Discussed during the conferences are individual education goals for your child. Parents are encouraged to make or add any changes to their child’s Educational objectives. • Progress notes • Fine/Gross motor • Speech/Language • Social Emotional • Health /Safety • Early Head Start Individual Education Plan is discussed and changes will be made involving parent input • Anecdotal notes are review with parents • Emergency changes, phone numbers, and address changes • Changes in family such as marriage, new baby, separation, divorce, or other
Q. What happens after the screening is complete?
A. Teachers will begin to assess children’s strengths and needs through observations and collection of data. This information is used for on-going assessments, which monitors children’s progress in Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, Physical Development, Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science and Technology, Social Studies, and English Language Learners. The Child Observation Record (COR) is the tool that we use for on-going assessments.
Q. What If My Income Level Is Higher Than the Poverty Guidelines?
A. Head Start programs may enroll up to 10% of children from families that have incomes above the Poverty Guidelines. Programs may also serve up to an additional 35% of children from families whose incomes are above the Poverty Guidelines, but below 130% of the poverty line if the program can ensure that certain conditions described in the section 645 (a)(1)(B)(iii)(II) of the Head Start Act have been met. [Resource: eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov]
Q. What is an IEP?
A. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is an education document for children 3-21 who qualifies for special services under IDEA. The IEP focuses on special education and related needs of the child in schools. The Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that states that services are to be provided in the child’s natural environment at no cost to parents. Your child can receive itinerant services at Head Start or part-day services (going to a school district site for part of the day for special instruction and return to Head start.
Q. What is an IFSP?
A. An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a document or written plan for children ages zero through age two who qualifies services. The IFSP focuses on the child and the family and is an in-depth assessment of the child’s special needs and the needs and concerns of the family. (1) Information on the child’s present level of development in all areas. (2) outcomes for the child and family; and (3) services the child and family will receive to help them achieve the outcomes.
Q. What is Early Intervention?
A. Early Intervention is services and supports that are available to young children and their families who are at high risk for developmental delays, social/emotional delays, and other disabilities. This may include speech therapy, physical therapy, social emotional counseling and etc. SHARE partners with the local school districts and the Babynet (0-3) program to serve children who qualifies for services under IDEA ages 0-5.
Q. What is Family Engagement?
A. Family engagement is a collaborative and strengths-based process through which early childhood professionals, families, and children build positive and goal-oriented relationships. It is a shared responsibility of families and staff at all levels that requires mutual respect for the roles and strengths each has to offer. Family engagement focuses on culturally and linguistically responsive relationship-building with key family members in a child’s life. These people include pregnant women and expectant families, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other adult caregivers.
Q. What is the Parent Committee?
A. The Parent Committee is required by the Federal government for all Head Start/Early Head Start Programs. All parents are automatically members of the Parent Committee. Parents are chosen to serve on the agency Policy Council from the Parent Committee(s). Parents from Head Start and Early Head Start should participate in the Parent Committee.
Q. What is the Policy Council?
A. The Policy Council is a group of Head Start and Early Head Start parents and community members who help lead and make decisions about their program. Policy Council members are elected by the parents of children enrolled in the program. Parents often join the Policy Council after serving on a parent committee. The Policy Council meets regularly as a group. Members can serve for one year at a time, and for up to five years. They work closely with the program's management team and governing body to provide overall direction for the program.
Q. What type of assessments are used to screen children in the classrooms?
A. SHARE Head Start screens each child using a developmental screening tool (Denver for Early Start and Dial-4 for Head Start) within the first 45 days of enrollment. Both of these screenings provide teachers with a baseline to assist with educational goals for each child.
Q. Why Should I participate in Family Partnership Building?
A. The family partnership agreement process is individualized, strengths based, family driven, and staff supported. Each family determines the direction of its partnership and works with Head Start staff to achieve identified goals. Developing a family partnership is an ongoing process which begins at enrollment and continues until the family has made a successful transition from the Head Start program. Whether working together to meet the developmental needs of children or towards realizing personal and family goals, staff and parents seek to understand and be understood. They seek to form a partnership based on mutual trust and respect. Teachers, Directors, and Family and Community Partnership team work with families to provide the following services: • Community outreach. • Recruitment and enrollment of children. • Partnering with families to set goals, responsibilities, plan of action and time lines. • Partnering with parents in interactions such as parent meetings, parent training activities, center and home visit to enhance family self-reliance. • Providing information about available community resources and how to obtain and use them. • Referrals for job training, employment, money management, health & nutrition concerns or other services parents request. • Support groups such as male involvement groups and single parent groups to assist families with common challenges. • Emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention. • Family progress is documented and celebrated with the family. • Advocacy. • Coordination of case management to ensure an efficient and timely delivery of services to families and children.
Q. Will I be able to breast-feed my infant at the center or send expressed breast milk for his/her feedings?
A. Yes, we encourage breast-feeding and will provide a private place to breastfeed as well as to store expressed breast milk.
Q. Will I be trained as a volunteer?
A. Volunteers must attend a Volunteer Orientation. This orientation will provide an overview of the Head Start program as well as volunteer expectations and standards of conduct.
Q. Will my child be labeled if he/she have an IEP or IFSP?
A. Having an IEP or an IFSP give children and families access to highly qualified specialists and services to assist your child as needed while he/she is in school. IFSP/IEP allows families be more involved in their child’s education. By law, It also protects child and family when the child have behavior issues or experiencing delays that may cause him/her to fall behind in school.
Q. Will there be opportunities to volunteer in the classroom?
A. Absolutely! Parent participation is welcomed and encouraged. Classroom teachers will provide opportunities to help get parents involved in their child’s classroom and education process. For example, you will have opportunities to: • Help prepare classroom activities • Field Trips • Meal time • Story time • Art activities