Head Start Program

The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Head Start began in 1965 and was later updated by the Head Start Act of 1981. It went through its most intense revisions in its latest reauthorization in December, 2007. It is one of the longest-running programs to address systemic poverty in the United States. As of late 2005, more than 22 million pre-school aged children have participated in Head Start. The $6.8+ billion dollar budget for 2005 provided services to more than 905,000 children, 57% of whom were four years old or older, and 43% three years old or younger. Services were provided by 1,604 different programs operating more than 48,000 classrooms scattered across every state (and nearly every county) at an average cost of $7,222 per child. The staff consists of nearly 212,000 paid personnel in addition to six times as many volunteers.