About Head Start
Today Head Start is administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS). Grants are awarded by the ACF Regional Offices and the OHS American Indian-Alaska Native and Migrant and Seasonal Program Branches directly to local public agencies, private organizations, school systems and Indian Tribes for the purpose of operating Head Start programs at the community level. Head Start serves children and their families each year in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Territories, including many American Indians and migrant children.
The Head Start/Early Head Start program delivers comprehensive high quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children. Head Start grantee and delegate agencies provide a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and family engagement. Head Start services are responsive and appropriate to each child and family’s development, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage and experience.
All Head Start/Early Head Start programs must adhere to Program Performance Standards. The Head Start Program Performance Standards define the services that Head Start/Early Head Start programs are to provide to the children and families they serve. They constitute the expectations and requirements that Head Start/Early Head Start grantee must meet. They are designed to ensure that the Head Start/Early Head Start goals and objectives are implemented successfully, that the Head Start/Early Head Start philosophy continue to thrive, and that all grantee and delegate agencies maintain the highest possible quality in the provision of Head Start/Early Head Start services.
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