Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs that provide funding for children ages 0-5 from low-income families to receive quality early education services.
Guide Head Start / Early Head Start
Learn about Head Start and Early Head Start
The federal Head Start program offers Center-Based Child Care, Family Child Care, and home visiting options on a part-day, part-year, or full-time basis for children ages five and under. Head Start and Early Head Start comprehensive services support children's physical, social, emotional, nutritional, and dental health.
Head Start accepts eligible 3 and 4 year old children until they can enter kindergarten. Early Head Start accepts eligible infants and toddlers.
How to Apply
Head Start and Early Head Start programs are administered by area agencies that serve designated communities. If you are interested in Head Start or Early Head Start, contact the Head Start lead agency in your area to find out if there are openings and how to apply to enroll your child. They will provide you with required forms, tell you what documents you need to apply, and will determine your eligibility.
Key Actions for Learn about Head Start and Early Head Start
Learn about the Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Office
The Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Office (MA HSSCO) is located at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The MA HSSCO is supported by an advisory group that meets four times a year and includes Head Start staff, as well as representatives from state agencies, organizations that work with low-income families, the Region I Office of Head Start and the Head Start Training and Technical assistance network. The MA HSSCO works collaboratively with the Massachusetts Head Start Association (MHSA) to enhance partnerships and mutually-developed agendas for the MHSA meetings and the MA HSSCO Advisory meetings.
The MA HSSCO has three regional priority areas: early childhood mental health, children and families experiencing homelessness, and addressing the opioid epidemic. Goals for the MA HSSCO also include:
- Partnering with Massachusetts' child care systems, emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative
- Working with Massachusetts' efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
- Supporting the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
- Collaborating with the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
- Working with Massachusetts' school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten.