TAP’s Head Start program says more help available for enrollment

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:53 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Total Action for Progress wants to let parents know they can enroll their children in Head Start year-round and they now have more help to do so.

This past summer, TAP was able to fully staff its dedicated enrollment team. Enrollment Director Leah Hale said that means Head Start applications can be processed faster.

“We’re able to kind of consolidate that and you may be having 20 that you’re actively working compared to like the 50 or 70 at a time,” she said of the applications her team works on. “So we’re able to get those done a lot quicker and get those children enrolled a lot quicker as well.”

Right now, TAP’s Head Start program can accept more than 1,150 children across the region. Enrollment is year-round, but the “heavy hitting” time for enrollment is April though October, according to Hale.

And now even more families are eligible to participate.

“The Office of Head Start has actually added an automatic qualifier to our program,” Hale explained. “So now if you receive SNAP benefits, you are considered an automatic qualifier which is a brand new thing this year and it’s really helped to broaden our reach. Because you may have been teetering over the edge of the over- income limits that we have.”

Meanwhile, TAP is working to hire more Head Start staffers to eventually reopen two centers at Hurt Park and Indian Village.

“I do know they are actively searching for teachers,” Hale said. “So not just enrolling children here but if you’re also interested in teaching some of thee children or doing some things. We are still looking for some more education staff to get those last few centers open so we can meet those numbers completely.”

Lastly, Hale wants families to know they can help connect them to more than just early childhood education. She can help families reach goals that include continuing education, health, employment, transportation, parenting classes and more.

Eligible families can call TAP’s Head Start program to begin the enrollment process. Each enrolling parent needs to have the child’s birth certificate, immunization records and copy of a recent physical.