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Head Start: Grant Funding Available

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 @ 12:07 PM / by Alisyn Franzen

What is Head Start?

Head Start began almost 50 years ago as an eight-week program designed to provide preschool children from low-income families the opportunity to be in a program that nurtured their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs. By October of 1998, Head Start was expanded to provide full-day and full-year services. In 2009, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided more than 64,000 opportunities for Early Head Start and Head Start programs, and today, Head Start serves children and families in urban and rural areas in every state in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories.

Head Start promotes educational readiness for children from low-income families from birth to age five. Children receive health, nutrition, social services, and education and cognitive development services. Families undergo a needs assessment to help determine other services that might be needed.


Is Head Start effective? What is the impact of Head Start?

There have been several studies and reports throughout the last twoHead Start decades on the effectiveness of Head Start programs and how they impact children over time. Data from these studies can be interpreted in various ways, and lately, there has been quite a stir of controversy over whether or not the government-run preschool program is actually worth the billions of dollars funding it. Again, it’s all about how you interpret the data.

Some test score data indicates that by third grade, children who participated in Head Start programs do not perform any better than children who did participate. However, others argue that there are more immediate educational benefits for children who are enrolled in Head Start programs. While these people recognize what the data has shown, they point out that sometimes, positive effects can appear, disappear, and reappear at later ages. These people also argue that Head Start is not only about promoting educational readiness, but it is also a program that strives to promote health, emotional, psychological, and other types well-being. Because of all the different needs Head Start tries to meet, supporters of the program argue it is well worth the funding.

You can view the Head Start Impact Study and Follow-Up, 2000-2012 reports, as required of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here. If you are interested in reading more about Head Start and its impact and effectiveness, Tim Bartik’s blog article on, “What do we know about Head Start’s effectiveness?” and Valerie Strauss’ article, “Does Head Start work for kids? The bottom line,” in The Washington Post, might be of interest. If you want more information, a simple Google search brings up many different resources.


What grants are currently available? 

Head Start periodically makes grants available by region or county. Applications and deadlines tend to be staggered throughout the year. Recently, Head Start and Early Head Start announced it is accepting applications from public or private non-profit organizations, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies within a community that wish to compete for funds to provide Early Head Start or Head Start services to infants, toddlers, and their families. Only programs serving the following states and counties or areas are currently eligible to apply. The application deadline for these opportunities is 8/19/13.


  • Arkansas: Miller County, Little River County, Hempstead County, Nevada County, Lafayette County, Sevier County, Howard County
  • Connecticut: Norwalk County, Weston County, Westport County, Wilton County, New Canaan in Fairfield County
  • Louisiana: Natchitoches Parish, Desoto Parish, Iberville Parish
  • North Carolina: New Hanover County
  • Oklahoma: Adair County Cherokee County, Craig County, Delaware County, Ottawa County
  • Pennsylvania: Bradford County, Tioga County
  • Virginia: Caroline County, Virginia Beach, Amelia County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Charlotte County, Cumberland County, Goochland County, Lundenburg County, Nottoway County, Prince Edward County


  • Florida: Brevard County
  • Louisiana: Ouachita Parish
  • New York: Bronx County
  • Ohio: Ashtabula County
  • Oklahoma: Adair County Cherokee County, Craig County, Delaware County, Ottawa County
  • Pennsylvania: Bradford County, Tioga County


  • Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri


If you are an organization that is interested in Head Start or Early Head Start funding, you can go to and sign up for free notification of government grants as they come available. You will get an email from nearly every day with a summary of newly announced grants. If you do not wish to sign up for the email notification, you can visit regularly and quickly conduct a basic search. Enter 93.600 for the CFDA number to search Head Start and Early Head Start grants. You can also visit the Office of Head Start website to view funding opportunities.

As always, if you have any questions or if you need assistance in any part of the grant process, please do not hesitate to contact us, and Carol Timms, our Educational Grant Specialist, will get in touch with you. Our initial consultations are always free. You may also consider visiting our Grants for Education page for other educational grant opportunities.


Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDAgov

Topics: education, educational funding, preschool program, early childhood grant, education grant, preschool program grant, Head Start, Early Head Start, preschool grant, early childhood education grant, Office of Head Start, early childhood education

Alisyn Franzen

Written by Alisyn Franzen

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