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Child Nutrition Information

Child Nutrition Services
23 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0023
Fax (207)624-6841

Child Nutrition Home>


Head Start Even Start Programs

Head start enrolled children are automatically approved for free meal benefits.  The child must be enrolled as a participant in the Head Start Program under the Head Start Act, i.e. the children must be part of Head Start's "funded enrollment". Under Head Start Program regulations (45 CFR 51305.2), "enrollment" means the official acceptance of a family by a Head Start Program and the completion of all procedures necessary for a child and family to begin receiving services.

USDA Memo 34-2008 Head start Automatically Eligible for Free Meals Benefits.


Part 5 Categorical Eligibility

Page 56 of Eligibility Manual for School Meals


Categorical Eligibility

Categorical eligibility is determined on an individual basis. A child’s receipt of benefits or participation in a program, such as Head Start, cannot be used to certify other children in the same household who are not considered as members of that program’s assistance unit or who are not participants in that program.

A pre-K class that contains Head Start and pre- K students not enrolled in Head Start require an application or case numbers to receive free meal benefits.

No application is needed for head start students just a roster of enrolled Head start students.


Even Start Enrollees

For a child to be categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in Even Start, the child must be enrolled as a participant in a Federally-funded Even Start Family Literacy Program and must be at the pre-kindergarten level.

Acceptable documentation includes:

  • an approved Head Start or Even Start application for the child’s family or statement of enrollment in Head Start or Even Start; or
  • a list of children participating in Head Start or Even Start; and
  • in the case of Even Start, confirmation that the child has not yet entered kindergarten.