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About Funding Opportunities

Types of Funding Opportunity Announcements:

Each funding opportunity announcement posted on under CFDA number 93.600 includes a funding opportunity title. The descriptions below are intended to clarify the purpose of each funding opportunity announcement type.

  • Head Start – A program that provides comprehensive child development services to low-income children and families when they are at least three years old by the date used to determine eligibility for public school in the community in which the Head Start program is located.
  • Early Head Start – A program that provides children ages birth to three and low-income pregnant women and families with family-centered services that facilitate child development, support parental roles, and promote self-sufficiency.
  • Migrant and Seasonal Head Start – A program that serves families who are engaged in agricultural work and who have changed their residence from one geographical location to another in the preceding two-year period.
  • Birth-to-Five - A funding opportunity announcement that allows applicants the opportunity to apply for funding to serve children from birth to age 5 and pregnant women in one application. Unlike other OHS funding opportunity announcements, applicants will have the choice to submit a single application for a comprehensive birth-to-five program incorporating both Head Start and Early Head Start funding, or to apply for a Head Start-only or Early Head Start-only grant. This funding opportunity announcement provides the opportunity to create a high-quality early childhood education and comprehensive services program with a particular emphasis on the transition from Early Head Start to Head Start or to another high-quality early education program.

Opportunity to Apply for Birth to Five – In some service areas that are not part of the birth-to-five funding opportunity announcement, a Head Start funding announcement, which is limited to serving preschool-aged children, is posted concurrently with an Early Head Start funding announcement for infants, toddlers and pregnant women. Because these two funding opportunity announcements are being made available at the same time, for the same service area, interested applicants have an opportunity to propose to serve children birth to five years of age including pregnant women. ACF is interested in applicants that would provide high-quality birth-to-five programs by providing both Head Start and Early Head Start services as well as applicants that would provide high-quality services in only one type of program. Applicants interested in applying for a birth-to-five program must carefully read the guidance outlined in the funding opportunity announcement, and must submit two separate applications in response to the Early Head Start funding opportunity announcement as well as the Head Start funding opportunity announcement.

Why Existing Service Areas Become Open to Competition?

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as required by Congress, established the Designation Renewal System (DRS) to determine whether Head Start and Early Head Start agencies deliver high-quality and comprehensive services to the families they serve. DRS established five year grant periods for all Head Start service awards, with many agencies receiving further five year grants without competing for funding. Any agency which meets a specified condition during the course of the grant period is not eligible for funding without competition. Instead, the opportunity to provide Head Start services in that area is made available to any interested agency which submits a competitive application in response to a funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

Obtaining Information About the Existing Services Delivered in the Community

Each Office of Head Start funding opportunity announcement is posted concurrently with additional, detailed information about the existing services delivered in the community. This information is provided to promote a general understanding of current services and program assets. Organizations applying for funding to operate Head Start and/or Early Head Start program(s) in the service area are encouraged to submit proposals which demonstrate high-quality services but are not required to adopt the same service model currently utilized in the service area. It is anticipated that program assets purchased with Federal funds will remain available for use in the service area, but the actual amount, condition, number and type of assets subject to transfer cannot be determined until a final award is made.

On either the ACF’s OHS website or the Funding Opportunity map, the service areas open for competition are searchable. For each open funding opportunity announcement, applicants can find the following:

  • Grantee Profiles on the existing Head Start or Early Head Start program(s)
  • Inventory of the existing Head Start or Early Head Start program(s)
  • Service-area specific questions and answers.

Last Reviewed: September 2015

Last Updated: October 8, 2015