March 04, 2010

Head Start to begin accepting fall registrations

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Head Start program will accept fall registrations during April. Federal income guidelines for the popular pre-kindergarten program have changed, so officials encourage any family with preschool age children residing in Jackson and Williamson counties to apply for the session beginning in August.

To register, children must be at least three years old by Sept. 1, 2010, but not old enough for kindergarten. Priority enrollment status goes to preschool children with disabilities, foster children and children from homeless families.

Head Start offers weekday morning, afternoon and all-day sessions. The partial-day programs are free. Family eligibility and income determine fees for full-day services. There is free bus transportation in designated service areas.

Several enrollment sessions are set in April at various locations to accommodate families. The enrollment application takes about an hour to complete. Head Start staff asks that, if possible, parents call for an appointment during one of the scheduled enrollment sessions.

Here’s the enrollment schedule:

• April 6, 9 a.m.-7 p.m -- Murphysboro Center, 9822 Illinois Route 149, Murphysboro, 618/687-4433.

• April 8, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.-- Johnston City Center, 901 Prosperity Ave., Johnston City, 618/983-8459.

• April 13, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.-- Marion Center, 907 N. Vicksburg St., Marion, 618/997-4255.

• April 13, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. -- Carbondale Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave., 618/453-2440.

• April 21, noon-6 p.m. -- John A. Logan Co-Location at John A. Logan College in Carterville, 618/997-2216, ext. 229 or 618/985-3741, ext. 8241.

Although registration at those locations on those dates is preferred, parents who can’t attend one of those sessions can enroll their child at another time at those sites or at the Malone’s Co-Location, 108 Walnut St., Carterville, 618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3366.

If unable to attend one of the April enrollment events, call or visit any of the center locations or co-locations as soon as possible to schedule a registration appointment.

Prior to children starting the program in the fall, parents must complete the Head Start registration requirements. Parents must submit an official copy of their child’s birth certificate (from the county clerk, not the hospital), proof of income from all sources for the previous 12 months, a hemoglobin/hematocrit screening, a dental examination and a copy of the child’s current physical examination including records of immunizations, tuberculosis screening and blood lead test. Parents should provide as much of the documentation as possible when they register their child.

SIUC, with federal grant funding, directs the Head Start programs for Jackson and Williamson counties. For more information, contact the SIUC Head Start administrative office at 618/453-6448 or 618/997-2216. The office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.