Pre-K Program Information for Families
Wake County SmartStart administers the Wake County Pre-kindergarten program. Children served in a Wake County Pre-K slot must meet age requirements, eligibility beyond age requirements, and service priority criteria. Children to be enrolled must be four-years-old on or before August 31 of the program year.
Eligibility Beyond Age Requirements
A child that meets the age requirements may be eligible for Wake County Pre-K if the child meets one of the criteria below:
- Is from a family whose gross income is at or below 75% of the State Median Income level;
- Has an identified disability as indicated by the child having a current Individualized Education Program (IEP);
- Has Limited English Proficiency (LEP) as indicated by the family and/or child speaking limited or no English in the home;
- Has a developmental or educational need as indicated by the child’s performance results on an approved developmental screening;
- Has a chronic health condition as indicated by a health care provider diagnosis;
- Has at least one parent or legal guardian who is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, the North Carolina National Guard or other state military force, or a Reserve Unit of the armed forces, and who is ordered to active duty by the proper authority within the last 18 months, or expected to be ordered within the next 18 months. A child whose parent or legal guardian has been seriously injured or killed while on active duty is also eligible.
Priority Requirements to Serve Children Who are “At-Risk”
The priority of Wake County Pre-K is to serve eligible children who are “at-risk”. For the purposes of determining eligibility priority for the Wake County Pre-K program, a child is considered “at-risk” if the child meets specific criteria, including: Is from a family whose gross income is at or below 75% of the State Median Income level; has an identified disability as indicated by the child having a current Individualized Education Program (IEP); has been determined “at-risk” by DCDEE based upon documentation that the child’s eligibility criteria and other factors constitute a significant and substantial risk that the child would be unable to avail himself/herself of the opportunity to obtain a sound basic education.
Eligibility for Families at or below 75% of State Median Income (SMI)
Income eligibility for Wake County Pre-K is determined by family size and gross income. Children in families with annual incomes at or below 75% of the State Median Income (SMI) level are considered at risk for Wake County Pre-K services and will receive priority.
If you have questions about the Wake County Pre-K program, call Wake County SmartStart at 919-851-9550.