How to Apply

What Is Head Start?

Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide free learning and development services to children ages birth to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start and Head Start welcome children with disabilities.

Some Early Head Start programs also provide prenatal services for pregnant women.

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Are You Eligible?

General Requirements

Eligibility is generally based on family income at or below the poverty level according to the Poverty Guidelines published by the federal government. Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are eligible regardless of income.

Local Requirements

Contact the Head Start or Early Head Start in your community to find out about their local requirements for enrolling your child.

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How to Apply

Your community's Head Start can help you with understanding local requirements for enrolling your child. They will answer questions, provide you with required forms, and tell you what documents you should bring with you to apply.

Due to limited government funding, there are not enough spaces for all eligible children. If there is not a space for you and your child at this time, ask the program to put your family on the waiting list.

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How to Find Your Local Head Start Program

Use the Head Start Locator to find a Head Start program near your home. Call the phone number listed to find out the next steps in the process.


If you need more help to find a Head Start program near your home, call (toll-free) 1-866-763-6481 Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET or use the “Contact Us” link at the top of the page.

Topic:About Us

Resource Type: Basic Page

Last Updated: November 4, 2019