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HHS/ACF RIN: 0970-AC46 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Head Start Eligibility Determination 
Abstract: This rule would amend Head Start program regulations to clarify and strengthen procedures for determining eligibility for Head Start program enrollment, including procedures to document and verify such eligibility. The intent is to reduce the risk of providing Head Start services to persons who are ineligible for those services. 
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal Authority: 42 USC 9801 et seq 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: This final rule will amend Head Start program regulations to clarify and strengthen procedures for determining eligibility for Head Start program enrollment, including procedures to document and verify such eligibility. The intent is to reduce the risk of providing Head Start services to persons who are ineligible for those services. The final rule directly responds to the findings of an investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the Head Start program is at risk of having over-income children enrolled while legitimate under-income and categorically eligible children are put on wait lists.

Summary of the Legal Basis: This final rule is published under the authority granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by section 644(c) of the Head Start Act, as amended by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, as well as sections 645(a)(1)(A) and 645A(c) of the Act.

Alternatives: Upon learning of GAO's investigation findings, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) immediately took numerous actions within our statutory and regulatory authority to respond to GAO's findings and to bolster program integrity efforts across the Head Start and Early Head Start programs; prevent future fraud and mismanagement; and ensure that every slot is reserved for an eligible child. For example, ACF issued a Program Instruction on May 10, 2010, entitled, ''Income Eligibility for Enrollment'' (ACF?PI?HS?10?01), which reminds grantees of their legal obligations to verify the eligibility of each child served and determine eligibility in accordance with the Head Start statute and regulations, as well as the serious consequences for falsifying eligibility determinations. However, we believe GAO's findings necessitate the implementation of new enrollment procedures, as contained in this final regulation, in order to reiterate and strengthen the requirements. Therefore, we are issuing this final regulation with requirements for Head Start and Early Head Start agency staff regarding verification, documentation, and certification of the information submitted by the applicants prior to determining if a pregnant woman or child is eligible for participation in a Head Start or Early Head Start program. This final regulation will ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in conformance with the purpose and requirements of the Head Start Act and that the neediest children and families in our country benefit from the program's services.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: There will not be a significant economic impact from this final rule. The estimated total cost of implementation of these rules for all grantees is approximately $132,188 annually.

Risks: Not applicable.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  03/18/2011  76 FR 14841 
NPRM Comment Period End  04/18/2011   
Final Action  04/00/2014   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Colleen Rathgeb
Division Director, Policy and Budget, HS
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
1250 Maryland Avenue SW.,
Washington, DC 20024
Phone:202 205-7378
Email: colleen.rathgeb@acf.hhs.gov

 
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