Head Start is the federally funded, comprehensive preschool program designed to meet the emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of children aged 3 to 5 and their families. Head Start helps develop social competencies in children and promotes self-sufficiency through a comprehensive family-focused approach. The Early Head Start program – established in 1994 – is the companion program created to address the same needs of children birth to age 3, expectant mothers, and their families.
The Office of Early Learning houses the NC Head Start-State Collaboration Office (NC HSSCO) through a federal grant from the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Since 1990, the Office of Head Start has supported collaboration through grants to States to create greater visibility of Head Start at the State level, leading to the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships that enhance early childhood services for low-income and other at-risk children and families. Head Start-State Collaboration Offices pursue ten federal priorities that focus on coordinating Head Start services with other State and local initiatives supporting staff professional development; children and families experiencing homelessness; family literacy; health services; and many others.
The Office of Head Start recognizes that the States play an important role in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives that affect low income children and their families. As such, the NC Head Start-State Collaboration Office and its connection to education in the State is viewed as vital to such policy development and application.
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Early Head Start Programs
Serving children birth to age 3, and pregnant women
Head Start Programs
Serving children ages 3 to 5