Head Start programs are free, federally-funded programs designed to promote school readiness of children under the age of five from low-income families through education, health, social and other services.

About This Type of Care

Head Start programs are operated by local non-profit organizations. Children who attend these programs participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive certain free medical and dental care services, have healthy meals and snacks and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Head Start helps all children succeed. Their programs are required to serve children with special needs, such as physical and developmental delays or homelessness.

Early Head Start is a program that serves pregnant women and families with children birth to three years of age. These programs were previously offered only as partial-day programs for part of the year. Currently, however, they are moving to serving children during a full day and full year schedule. These programs offer a variety of support services.

Head Start programs serve children ages three to five years old. These programs encourage parent involvement through regular home visits, volunteering in the program and special activities.

Head Start programs must follow extensive federal requirements and are often also licensed by the state in which they operate. You can learn more about these programs by visiting the Head Start website. You’ll find more information on the kinds of comprehensive services that are offered once a child is enrolled. You can also read about how to find out if you are eligible for services. The online program locator is available to allow you to do a search to find a program in your area. Contact a local program to find out how to apply for services.