Head Start is a national child development program for children from birth to age 5, which provides services to promote academic, social and emotional development for income-eligible families.
Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. It is a direct federal to local program serving low-income children. The program promotes comprehensive education, health, nutrition, dental, mental health, social services and parental involvement opportunities.
Many Head Start programs also offer home-based services to families and child care for infants and toddlers through Early Head Start. Head Start is a recognized leader in providing services to children with disabilities, children of migrant workers and Native American families.
For more information, visit the Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) Head Start Web site.
Virginia Head Start State Collaboration Project
Head Start is a federally-funded program that works directly with localities. The Virginia Head Start State Collaboration Project oversees the program and represents its interests on the state level.
The Head Start Collaboration Grant was created as a partnership at the state level to support the development of multi-agency and public private partnerships. These partnerships help build early childhood systems, enhance access to comprehensive services for low income children and involve Head Start in state policies affecting low-income families.
The major goals of the grant are to:
- Foster working coalitions comprised of ACF staff, state officials, state Head Start association members, Head Start program staff, early childhood professionals
- Create a link between local Head Start programs and state early childhood initiatives
- Facilitate a more coordinated approach to service delivery
The seven priority areas identified by the grant for statewide collaborative partnerships are:
- Improving the access to health care services
- Improving the availability, accessibility and quality of child care services
- Improving collaboration with social services systems
- Expanding and improving educational opportunities in early childhood programs
- Initiating interaction with the Americorps service program
- Improving access to family literacy services, and
- Improving opportunities for children with disabilities
For more information and a list of Head Start programs in Virginia, visit Virginia Head Start Association.