A child must be at least three years of age and fit at least one of the following criteria:
- is unable to speak and comprehend the English language; or
- is educationally disadvantaged; or
- is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child; or
- is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority; or
- is the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or
- is or has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code.
What documentation is needed?
- If the student qualifies because he or she is unable to speak and comprehend the English language or if the student is eligible for prekindergarten because the student does not speak and comprehend the English language, the following documentation must be on file:
- Home language survey. The home language survey shall be administered in English and Spanish; for students of other language groups, the home language survey shall be translated into the home language whenever possible. The home language survey shall contain the following questions [19 TAC §89.1215 (b)]:
- “What language is spoken in your home most of the time?”
- “What language does your child (do you) speak most of the time?”
- Proof of a qualifying score on an approved Oral Language Proficiency Test. The official scores must be documented in the student’s records.
- If the student qualifies because he or she is educationally disadvantaged, the following documentation must be on file:
- The term, “educationally disadvantaged,” means eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program established under 42 U.S.C. Section 1751 et seq. Citation: TEC §5.001(4)
When providing written evidence of proof of income, parents or those standing in parental relation to the student must submit documents that show income received by the household during the month prior to verification. The document should contain the name of the person standing in parental relation, and amount and the date the income was received. A pay stub with no date would be insufficient. Gross income to be reported is any money received on a recurring basis including gross earned income. Specifically, gross income means all money earned before any deductions, such as income taxes, employee’s social security taxes, insurance premiums, bonds, and charitable contributions. Acceptable documentation for earnings (wages and salary) include:
- Current paycheck stub
- Current pay envelope
- Letter from employer stating gross wages paid and how often they are paid
- Unemployment, Worker’s Compensation or Disability payment stub
- Acceptable documentation for self-employment income include:
- Business or farming documents, such as ledger books and/or self-issued paycheck stub
- Last year’s tax return
Acceptable documentation for cash income include:
- A letter from the employer stating wages paid and frequency
Please refer to the ARM (Administrator’s Reference Manual) for Texas Child Nutrition Programs for additional sources and examples of income documentation.
- If the student is eligible for prekindergarten because the student is homeless, the student must fit the definition of homeless as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302 and 42 U.S.C. Section 11434(a). [Refer to “FAQs” for definition of “homeless”]
- If a student is eligible for prekindergarten because the student is the child of an active duty, injured or killed member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserved component of the armed forces, the following documentation must be on file:
- Documentation that a district employee verified the student's Department of Defense (DoD) photo identification for children of active duty service members. Important: Your district should not make a copy of the identification.
- If the student has not been issued such an ID, then documentation must be on file that a district employee verified the military member's DoD photo identification (or other DoD-issued documentation indicating that the person is an active-duty member of the military) and verified documentation showing that the student is a child of the military member. The documentation to be kept on file must include the printed name and signature of the person who verified the DoD and other documentation and the date that it was verified, as well as a photocopy of the documentation showing that the student is a child of the military member. Important: Your district should not make a copy of the DoD identification; or
- A copy of the “Statement of Service” from the Installation Adjutant General (AG) Director of Human Resources for children of active members or mobilized reservists or members of the Texas National Guard. This office would use the military personnel systems and documentation to verify that the service member is on active duty in Texas or a Texas mobilized reservist. For Texas National Guard members (Army or Air Guard), the Texas National Guard’s office of the Adjutant General (TAG) may provide documentation or an official letter from a commander (at or above the Lieutenant Colonel or, for the Navy at the Commander level) confirming active/mobilized status may be accepted; or
- A copy of the Death Certificate using the service appropriate Department of Defense form, or a Department of Defense form that indicates death as the reason for the separation from the service for children of service members who died or were killed. If the Department of Defense form is not available, the family would ask the Casualty Assistance Office of the closest Casualty Area Command (in Texas) to provide a memorandum signed by the Casualty Office stating the service member was killed in action or died while serving; or
- A copy of the Purple Heart orders or citation for children of service members or mobilized reservists/guardsmen who were wounded or injured in combat; or
- A copy of the Line of Duty Determination documentation for children of service members or mobilized reservists/guardsmen who were injured while serving on active duty but were NOT wounded or injured in combat. If such documentation is not available, a copy of an official letter from a commander (at or above the Lieutenant Colonel or, for the Navy at the Commander level) stating the service member was wounded or injured while on active duty is acceptable; or
- A copy of appropriate documentation for children of service members who are “Missing in Action” (MIA). Any one of the following three acceptable pieces of documentation will suffice for all services: (1) a copy of the transmittal letter from the Service Secretary stating the service member is in a missing status; (2) a copy of the DD (Department of Defense) Form 2811, “Report of Proceedings by Initial/Subsequent Board of Inquiry or Further Review Board”; or (3) a copy of the DD Form 2812, “Commander’s Preliminary Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Missing Person.”
- If a student is eligible for prekindergarten because the student is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code, the parent or caregiver of the child will be mailed a verification letter of prekindergarten eligibility. Districts are asked to accept the DFPS letter as proof of eligibility to enroll these children in free prekindergarten. For assistance in obtaining a letter, please contact the DFPS Education Specialist in your area for assistance or for a description of other forms of proof of eligibility.
Department of Federal and State Education Policy: 512-936-6060
Gina S. Day, firstname.lastname@example.org
Howard Morrison, email@example.com