Grants to Head Start Programs

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

Grants to Head Start Programs funds a state supplement which supports Head Start and Early Head Start programs promoting school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families. Federal funding, which makes up the vast majority of funding, is allocated to lead agencies who administer the funding to local Head Start organizations. Federal funding does not go through the state budget. Head Start aims to serve the entire family while supporting the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children in the program.

Head Start programs are guided by three principles: 1) provide comprehensive services for the whole family including health, education, nutrition, social and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments; 2) promote parent engagement - emphasizing the role of parents as a child's first and most important teacher; 3) build community - employ community residents, many former head start clients, and work collaboratively with other community organizations to assist families in meeting their basic needs.

Head Start programs offer a variety of service models depending on the needs of the local community. Programs can be based in centers or schools, family child care homes, or children's own home where a staff person visits once a week to provide services to the child and family. Early Head Start which serves infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families aims to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhance the development of very young children, and promote healthy family functioning.

The vast majority of Head Start funding comes from the federal Head Start grant. In FY 2013, Massachusetts received $116.3 million through the federal grant, over $6 million less than the year before. This funding supported around 11,600 children, almost 2,000 less than FY 2012. The state supplement in FY 2013 was $8.2 million in inflation adjusted dollars. The state supplement aims to both increase access to and improve quality of Head Start programs in Massachusetts. State Head Start funding also supports salary grants for providers and allows the state to meet federal Head Start matching requirements.

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