Head Start Program

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Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive U.S. child-development programs that serve economically disadvantaged children (from birth to age 5) and pregnant women and their families. In 2000, these programs provided services to approximately 855,000 children in over 47,000 classrooms throughout the United States. The 1999 federal budget for Head Start was about $4.2 billion with an additional $0.34 billion for Early Head Start. Evaluations of Head Start and Early Head Start suggests that these programs have modest positive effects on a range of child-development outcomes, and recent evaluations of Early Head Start also found benefits on some parenting outcomes, as well as reductions in parenting stress and family conflict.

Jonathan E. Fielding

(see also: Child Care, Daycare; Child Health Services; Child Welfare; Family Health; Health Promotion and Education; Healthy Start; Maternal and Child Health; United States Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS] )