The Head Start and Early Start Childcare programs are two of the largest federally-funded childcare programs in the United States. Both of these programs receive federal funding to provide low-income families with daycare opportunities that they may otherwise not be able to afford.
In addition to income guidelines, each of these programs have age-based requirements. The Early Head Start Program is available to low-income pregnant women and families that have children younger than 3 years old. The Head Start Program is available to low-income families with children between the ages of 3 and 5.
While both of these programs have many key differences between states, including in the services they provide, each state program must follow federal guidelines, such as meeting educational requirements.
The Head Start and Early Head Start programs are provided by local community action agencies, non-profit organizations, and various school districts. As such, daycare programs may be held in various settings, such as at a school, day care center, or home daycare location.
In addition to educational programs such as the Head Start Reading Program, both of these programs often provide families with resources and benefits outside of childcare. For example, your local Head Start and Early Head Start Programs may provide one or more of the following services:
- Health advocacy
- Disability services
- Mental health services
- Fatherhood initiatives
- Nutritional education
- Healthy meals and snacks
- Dental health services
- Vocational training, education courses, and scholarships for parents
For a complete list of benefits and services in your area, you may need to contact your local Head Start and Early Head Start providers.
You can typically find additional information for these programs, including how to find resources in your local community, by viewing the online Head Start Early Learning Center, the Office of Head Start (OHS).
If you’re searching for an alternative educational daycare program, some Primrose day care programs and Montessori daycare programs may provide discounts to low-income families that meet specific eligibility requirements. It helps to do some research and compare available programs in your area.
But what if you need a daycare center that works outside of first-shift hours? What if you need a drop in daycare? Or maybe you’re looking for low-cost and free daycare program that include transportation services.
On the next slide, you can learn about additional options that may help you reduce or eliminate the cost of your childcare expenses and help your family potentially save thousands each year.