Head Start is a federal program that has provided comprehensive early childhood development services to low-income children since 1996. Services provided to preschool-aged children include child development, educational health, nutritional, social and other activities, intended to prepare low-income children for entering kindergarten. The program is administered by the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Unlike many other social service programs, federal Head Start funds are provided directly to local grantees, rather than through states. Programs are locally designed, and are administered by a network of about 1,500 public and private nonprofit agencies. In FY2001, Head Start funded enrollment for 905,000 children. This new book outlines the past, present and future of this socially beneficial program. The long-term impact on the children aided, particularly with respect to educational attainment, is addressed and continues to be an area of focus and concern. In addition, the numerous roadblocks that exist with regard to the Head Start program, are assessed and handled accordingly.