The federal Head Start program provides low-income 3-and 4-year old children and their families with comprehensive early education and support services.
All Head Start programs focus on the “whole child” and include:
- early education that addresses cognitive, developmental, and social and personal needs;
- medical and dental screenings, referrals and treatment;
- nutritional services;
- parental involvement activities;
- referrals to social service providers for the entire family; and
- referrals for mental health services, as needed.
The purpose of the Head Start State Collaboration Projects is to create significant, Statewide partnerships between Head Start and the states in order to meet the increasingly complex, intertwined and difficult challenges of improving services for economically disadvantaged children and their families.
The goals of the Collaboration Project are to:
- facilitate the involvement of Head Start in state policies and plans which affect the Head Start population and other low-income families;
- facilitate collaboration between Head Start and a wide range of state-level activities which, in turn, will support local community coordination; and
- highlight mutual Federal and State commitment to children and their families.
In 1965, “Project Head Start” was launched as an 8 week program serving 561,000 children. Since then, the Head Start program has served more than 27 million children and their families and has become one of the leaders in the field of early childhood education. In 1994, federal policymakers authorized the Early Head Start program to address the needs of children under age 3 and pregnant women.