Early Head Start; What is it all about?

Early Head Start is a US federally funded program that provides family support and is free for all low-income families who meet the eligibility requirements.


Early Head Start is a free program that is funded federally and provided to eligible low-income families in the USA. The goal of Early Head Start is to help families create healthy, family bonds. Early Head Start may provide home visits, sessions at an Early Head Start Center, or a combination of the two and is available for babies and children up to the age of 3. In addition to babies and toddlers, the program is available to pregnant women as well. The program is provided throughout all of the USA. Migrant and seasonal workers may also be eligible for the program. Applications can be made at the Early Head Start Center in your local area.

What is Early Head Start?

Early Head Start is a federally funded free program for pregnant women and babies and toddlers under the age of 3. Early Head Start aims to support low-income families by giving child development information and family support to families. It helps parents and caregivers to form healthy bonds with their young children. It is not only children who participate in the program but rather the program is for the whole family. Early Head Start provides parents with parent education and activities for parents and children to participate in together. It also provides health and mental health services and can even provide child care services. While the Early Head Start Program ends at the age of 3, the Head Start Program is for children from 3 to 5 years old. Head Start is the original program that began in 1965. This program was expanded to include younger children in 1994. For more information about the programs, see  Head Start and Early Head Start. Early Head Start programs are also available for children with disabilities. Some of the programs also give prenatal services for pregnant women.

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Early Head Start aims for positive family relationships and positive developmental outcomes for children

What is ECLKC?

ECLKC is the acronym for Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center which is the office of Head Start and Early Head Start. It administers the programs and in addition to this, it provides training and information to improve the skills of the staff involved in the Early Head Start programs in order to ensure the best possible outcomes from the program. It also ensures that practices are consistent over all the tribes, communities, states, and territories where it operates. In addition to this, through its centers of excellence, the ECLKC provides Training and Technical Assistance in a number of areas: early childhood specialists, grant recipient specialists, health, specialists, and family engagement specialists.

What’s the earliest age for Early Head Start?

There is no minimum age for Early Head Start. Parents can begin to participate in the programs from the birth of their child. The program will end on the child’s third birthday. Early Head Start is not limited to infants and toddlers, eligible families can begin the program when the mother is still pregnant.

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There are Early Head Start locations in all 50 US states – you can head into one of the locations to apply for the program

What are the Early Head Start locations?

There are Early Head Start Centers in all 50 states of the USA as well as in the District of Columbia and in Puerto Rico. To find your nearest center, go to the Head Start Center Locator.

What are the EHS program options?

There are a number of different Early Head Start program options as well as a number of different services.

Home-based programs consist of child-focused, weekly home visits of 90 minutes.

The center-based program takes place in classroom settings in an Early Head Start center, a school, or a child care center. In addition to the program, families will receive home visits at least twice a year. For foster children or children in care, the family child care services provide education and child development services in a private home or family-like setting.

 Early Head Start also provides a combination of home-based and center-based programs where some of the sessions are home-based and other sessions are provided in a center.

 American Indian and Alaska Native Programs will be determined based on the needs of local communities. In addition to the regular services provided by Early Head Start, the program offers traditional language and cultural practices.

 The Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program is intended to provide services for families engaged in agricultural labor and who have changed their location in the preceding two years and also for seasonal farmworkers

For more detailed information about the Early Head Start Programs, go to Early Head Start Programs.

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The Early Head Start program is FREE for all eligible US low income families

Is Early Head Start free?

 Early Head Start is completely free for any family whose income falls below the US Federal Poverty Guidelines. According to the guidelines, the amount that constitutes poverty will be different according to the number of people in the family or household. There may also be a difference in amount depending on where you live. Alaska and Hawaii have different amounts from the other states. For detailed information about the Federal Poverty Guidelines and your financial eligibility for the program, see Poverty Guidelines.

How much does Early Head Start cost?

 There are no costs to the eligible families who participate in the Early Head Start Program. It is 100% funded by the government for low-income families.

How do I apply for the Early Head Start program?

The Early Head Start Program is available to all low-income pregnant women and families with babies and toddlers at any age up until 3 years. To start the application process, you will need to go to a local Early Head Start Center in order to find out whether you are eligible for the program. When you speak to the program staff they will be able to determine whether you are eligible. One of the criteria for eligibility is if your family’s income is at or below the federal poverty level. However, that is not the only criteria for eligibility.

 Some children may still be eligible even if their family does not meet the definition of poverty given in the Federal Poverty Guidelines. There are other requirements that also allow families to participate in the Early Head Start Program. Families who are experiencing homelessness are eligible, as are children in foster care. Families who receive other forms of government support may also be eligible to participate. These include families receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families); SSI (Supplemental Security Income); or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

 In order to apply for the Early Head Start Program, you will need to start by contacting the Early Head Start Program which is serving your community. At the local center, the program staff will give you the forms that you need for your application. They will also be able to answer any questions that you have. When the staff provides you with forms, they will also let you know what documents you need to submit with your application. For more information, see How can I get my child into Head Start?.

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Early Head Start is a free, federally funded program that is available throughout the USA. Its aim is to help low-income families create a healthy, nurturing environment for their children. Babies and toddlers from birth to the age of 3 are eligible for this program. It is also available to pregnant women. Migrant and seasonal workers can also participate in this program, which is home-based, center-based, or a combination of the two. Applications for this program can be made at a local Early Head Start Center. This program can benefit families and any family that thinks they are eligible should consider making an application.

You can also red my articles on Programs for Parents and the Circle of Security which may be helpful resources when seeking positive family outcomes.


G’day! I’m Ken, and this blog documents my journey to becoming an awesome Dad! I would love for you to join along on my journey as I discover and learn how to become the best Dad I can possibly be, and manage this goal with my challenging work commitments!

Kenny has 53 posts and counting. See all posts by Kenny

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