2021 Fact Sheets

Head Start Profiles

Head Start is a community-based, comprehensive early education program that gives young children from at-risk backgrounds the skills they need to be successful in school and life.

Click on your state to download your state profile and explore Head Start's reach.

Head Start’s Model: Nationwide, Comprehensive, Multi-Generational

In the six decades since our founding, we have reached a new milestone: 37 million children have been served by Head Start. That is 1 out of every 11 Americans. Innovators and communicators, advocates and thinkers, health care heroes and teachers themselves—our alumni represent the vast and diverse fabric of our country. When we speak with our alumni, they recall the warmth they felt from their Head Start teachers. Kind words that gave them comfort and nutritious meals that felt like home. For many, this start to their educational journey imprinted a love of learning and a sense of possibility.

From early math and reading skills to confidence and resilience, Head Start helps children build the skills they need to be successful in school and life. Our comprehensive approach meets the needs of the whole child, addressing health and wellbeing as well as ABCs and 123s. Our success is in the stories, testimony, and experiences of our 37 million living proof points of Head Start’s impact and decades of rigorous research on how equitable access to preschool and wraparound services breaks the cycle of poverty in communities across the country.

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Fathers participated in program governance

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Parents received job training

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Home visits were conducted

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Children received a behavioral health treatment plan

Long-Term Impact

Head Start participants are 12% less likely to live in poverty as adults and 29% less likely to receive public assistance.

“Evidence suggests Head Start not only helps kids develop and allows parents to go to work, but it may also help at-risk kids from ending up in the foster care system.”

Head Start parents have steeper increases in their educational attainment by the time their children are six years old.

“My husband lost his job and we were evicted from our home. It is incredibly stressful to be homeless with an infant, but because of Early Head Start we were able to keep the stress away from our son. We worked at getting back on our feet–my husband took a job as a dishwasher and I worked as a secretary, which we could do knowing our son was receiving excellent care. Our son is doing great in all areas and learning social/emotional skills.”

- Erin Martino, New York

“I love Head Start and have for a long time. My two grandchildren were so prepared when they started school. The teachers were fantastic, the staff were very helpful and friendly. This year my youngest grandson is in Head Start. I can really see a big change in him. I know he is in good hands.”

- Vickie May

“As required by MSHS programs, both my husband and I work in agriculture. If not for the assistance of MSHS, our children would not have received the early foundation they needed to be school-ready and succeed. MSHS programs make it possible for migrant families to have a quality program for our children while we bring a safe and secure food source to American tables. I ask you to keep funding MSHS because it made a difference in my children’s education.”

- David and Ramona DeLoera
East Coast Migrant Head Start Project, Florida

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