Frequently Asked Questions About Head Start and Early Head Start

General Head Start Questions


General Head Start Questions

    What is Head Start and Early Head Start?

    Head Start provides comprehensive child development services to children ages prenatal to five and their families who are economically disadvantaged. The program helps preschoolers develop social, emotional, early reading and math, and physical skills they need to be successful in school. Head Start programs promote school readiness through improved access to educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and their families. The program includes a strong parent, family, and community engagement component. Head Start was created in 1965 by the federal government. In 1994, the federal government created Early Head Start to address the comprehensive needs of children under age 3 and pregnant women in families with low incomes

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    What services and experiences do Head Start programs ensure enrolled children and families receive?
    Education Services
    • Individualized learning programs
    • Evidence and research based curriculum
    • Inclusion of children with special needs
    • Family literacy activities
    • Alignment of curriculum and assessments with public schools
    • Goals for school readiness

    Health Services
    • Medical, dental, vision, and hearing screenings & referrals
    • Nutrition services
    • Health education
    • Mental health screening and referrals
    • Assistance in establishing a medical and dental home

    Family Services
    • Parent, family, and community engagement
    • Links to community resources
    • Family goal setting and parenting education
    • Leadership opportunities through parent council involvement
    • Parent education programs
    • Support during transition from Head Start to public schools

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    Who is eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services?
    Children and pregnant women from families with low-incomes may be eligible to participate and may enroll through a locally established selection process based upon income at or below the poverty line and other needs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services annually establishes Poverty Guidelines. Children in foster care or experiencing homelessness, and children with developmental disabilities are also eligible to be considered for participation. At least 10% of a program’s enrollment must be children with disabilities.

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    Who oversees the Head Start/Early Head Start program?

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), oversees the program through the Office of Head Start. Local community-based organizations or agencies receive 5-year grants to operate the programs. The local grantees are responsible for implementing the standards. In addition to meeting applicable state standards and regulations, each Head Start and Early Head Start grantee receives comprehensive monitoring over each 5-year grant period by a team of federal monitors to ensure compliance with the regulations.

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    What health services do Head Start and Early Head Start programs help families access for the enrolled children?

    Children receive a medical screening, are checked for immunizations, and receive an oral health screening. Children are referred for treatment when indicated by results of the screenings. Efforts are made to assist families in obtaining ongoing sources of continuous, accessible medical and dental care.

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Last Modified: 10/22/2019 1:54:45 PM