Head Start

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Website: http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com

The Head Start program is administered by the Head Start Bureau, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs which serve children from birth to age 5, pregnant women, and their families. They are child-focused programs and have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.

Each year, almost one million children from low-income families enter school for the first time. While their more fortunate classmates may face the new challenge with assurance, many children from low-income homes begin school with health problems and a lack of self-confidence. Without the will to move ahead, these children often fall behind in their first years of school and find their troubles compounded in later years. Project Head Start was designed to help break the cycle of poverty by providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs.

There are four major components in Head Start:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Parental Involvement
  • Social Services

Head Start has played a major role in focusing the attention of the Nation on the importance of early childhood development, especially in the first five years of life. In many ways, the program has had a dramatic impact on child development and day care services; on the expansion of State and local activities for children; on the range and quality of services offered to young children and their families; and on the design of training program for those who staff such programs.

The Head Start Bureau offers a wide range of services and programs. Their Early Head Start Program promotes healthy prenatal outcomes, enhances the development of infants and toddlers, and promotes healthy family functioning. Migrant and Seasonal Program Branch provides steady and high quality services in support of healthy child development across the nation.

A disabled child can often learn more readily in a group with other children than in a separate group for the disabled. Hence, disabled children and their families receive the full range of Head Start developmental services. In addition, Head Start staff members work closely with community agencies to provide services to meet the special needs of the disabled child.

Following are some helpful links:

and promotes healthy family functioning. Migrant and Seasonal Program Branch provides steady and high qu

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.