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Programs for Families and Children

Assistance for Families
How can I get my child into Head Start?

To find a Head Start or Early Head Start program near you, use the web-based Head Start Locator or call 1-866-763-6481 (toll-free). Your local program will provide the required forms and answer your questions. They will also tell you what documents you should bring with you to apply.

Where can I find information on programs to help meet the needs of children and families?

The Benefits.gov website offers eligibility and contact information about all Federal programs that provide benefits or services. A list of all Health and Human Services programs is available on the site, as is a list of Child Care/Child Support programs.

What agencies advocate for persons with disabilities?

The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities funds State Councils on Developmental Disabilities and State Protection & Advocacy Systems. The Department of Education has two programs for persons with disabilities. There are also many local advocates and advocacy agencies nationwide.

What services are available to the disabled elderly?

You can find information on services available to the disabled elderly on the Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator Web site: http://www.eldercare.gov/.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law guaranteeing equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications. You can find information about ADA at http://www.ada.gov/.

What is TANF?

The TANF program, which is time limited, assists families with children when the parents or other responsible relatives cannot provide for the family's basic needs. The Federal government provides grants to States to run the TANF program.

Where do I find help for myself or for another older person?

The Administration on Aging (AOA) Eldercare Locator is a free, online service that can connect you with resources and programs designed to assist seniors in your area.

I am not satisfied with how my child support case is being handled. What do I do?

The Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Program is run by states and counties and they are the best source of information about your case. If you are working with the agency, but are not getting support payments, contact the state CSE agency and ask them what more can be done.

Where can I find good child care?

Local resource and referral agencies can help you find good child care. Contact Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246 or http://www.childcareaware.org.

How can I apply for food stamps?

To apply for food stamp benefits, or for information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), contact your local SNAP office. You can find local offices and each State's application on the USDA national map.

How do I apply for financial aid for my family?

HHS offers 95 benefit assistance programs, mostly through grantees at the State and local levels. Visit Benefits.gov to learn about these programs and how to apply.

Is there any help available for my single parent family?

The Benefits.gov website offers eligibility and contact information about all Federal programs that provide benefits or services. A list of all Health and Human Services programs is available on the site, as is a list Child Care/Child Support programs.

Prevent Abuse
How do I report elder abuse or abuse of an older person or senior?

If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell someone. Relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police.

How can I recognize elder abuse?

Laws and definitions of terms vary considerably from one state to another, but broadly defined, abuse may be physical or sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, emotional abuse, abandonment, and self-neglect.

What is child abuse or neglect? What is the definition of child abuse and neglect?

Just as there are various types of abuse and neglect, the symptoms of abuse and neglect may vary from child to child. Child Welfare Information Gateway has a fact sheet that may be of interest to you.

What are the signs or symptoms of child abuse or neglect?

Just as there are various types of abuse and neglect, the symptoms of abuse and neglect may vary from child to child.

At what age can a child legally be left alone to care for themselves?

State child abuse and neglect reporting laws do not specify the age at which a child can be left home alone. You may want to contact your local police department or child protective services agency for information about specific local regulations or ordinances.