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Head Start

Established in 1965, Head Start promotes school readiness for children, ages three to five, in low-income families by offering educational, nutritional, health, social and other services. Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Programs actively engage parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.

The Office of Head Start (OHS) provides grants to approximately 1600 local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies (in NYS there are 234 grantees that operate 874 centers) to provide Head Start and Early Head Start services throughout the United States and territories. NYS Head Start programs receive approximately $428.5 million per year in federal funding. These programs operate in the way that’s best for their communities. Some programs are half day, some are full day, and others home based. Many programs offer a variety of service options, including partnerships with schools, centers and family child care.

The majority of Head Start grantees are Community Action Agencies or other non-profit entities.

- Nearly a third are government entities (e.g., tribal governments, cities, counties and school systems).

- A small number are for-profit organizations.

Grantees range from small non-profit agencies directly operating as little as one classroom to a "super grantee" overseeing multiple delegate agencies operating 1,000 classrooms across an entire city.

- One of our smallest programs serves 30 children in two classrooms on the Havasupai reservation on the bottom of the Grand Canyon, only accessible by helicopter or donkey.

- Our largest program is the Los Angeles County Office of Education which serves over 22,000 children in over 400 centers across Los Angeles.

The average grantee serves 300 children and operates in 4 centers

Head Start Resource Links:

National Head Start Association

Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Head Start Funding Opportunities, an Office of the Administration for Children & Families

Head Start Collaboration Project, New York State Council on Children and Families


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