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Head Start and Early Head Start Services Are Available to SNAP Families

Families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will now be automatically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services, which include school readiness, nutrition, and family support, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Head Start.

Previously, this option was only available to TANF, SSI, and foster or homeless children.

“Our comprehensive early learning and family development programme services will help more vulnerable residents thrive in Madison County, Illinois,” said Gene Howell, president and CEO of Riverbend Head Start and Family Services.

Riverbend Head Start and Family Services provide over 700 children and families with critical early learning skills in social and emotional well-being, healthy lifestyles, language and literacy skills, math, and other academic needs each year. The programme also equips parents with life skills, decision-making guidance, and goal-setting for both themselves and their families.

“The new SNAP eligibility will allow us to meet our enrollment numbers as we continue to recruit for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year,” Howell said.


“In our Early Head Start Home-Based programme, we hope to enrol about 300 children, including pregnant mothers, and over 400 in our Head Start centre-based programme.” We’ve always been full, but it’s been difficult to reach full enrollment in recent years for a variety of reasons, including, of course, the pandemic. This is an excellent time to apply for SNAP benefits if you have young children.”

Head Start is a programme that includes school-readiness education, health services, disability services, and family support. Parents can also volunteer in the classrooms, on the Parent Group and Policy Council, or as bus monitors.

Family Advocates work with the child’s family to create a positive and engaging home–school connection in the Head Start home-visit-based programme. The staff works with families to help them prepare their children for school beyond preschool age. Early childhood education, Head Start standards, and Illinois licencing regulations are all covered by Head Start staff.

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Six Head Start centres serve the following communities: Alton, Bethalto, Collinsville, Cottage Hills, East Alton, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Godfrey, Granite City, Hartford, Highland, Madison, Marine, Maryville, Meadowbrook, Moro, Troy, Venice, and surrounding areas.

There are also home-based options. Learn and Play sessions are held once a month for the home-based children and their families to encourage the development of social and emotional skills.

The Health Advocates from Riverbend Head Start also make home visits to allow the family to discuss and address any health concerns they may have, such as dental, vision, hearing, developmental, and prenatal care, to ensure that the family’s health needs are met.

Head Start is a school-readiness programme that includes health care, aid for people with disabilities, and family support. Parents can volunteer in the classrooms, on the Parent Group and Policy Council, or even as bus monitors.
If you have young children, this is an opportune time to apply for SNAP assistance.

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