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Toddler playing at the park on a swing

Head Start &
Early Head Start

What is Head Start and Early Head Start?

Head Start programs support children's growth from birth to age 5 through services that support early learning and development, health, and family well-being. Head Start staff actively engage parents, recognizing family participation throughout the program as key to strong child outcomes.


Head Start services are available at no cost to children ages birth to 5 for eligible families. Head Start preschool services work with families with children ages 3 to 5. In Early Head Start staff work with families with children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families or prenatal. Many programs operate both Head Start preschool and Early Head Start. Programs deliver child development services in center-based, home-based, or family child care settings. All Head Start programs continually work toward the mission for eligible children and families in that they receive high-quality services in safe and healthy settings that prepare children for school and life.

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