Head Start, Early Head Start Programs to Receive Over $2 Billion in Recovery Act Funding

April 2, 2009
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

New Funds Will Improve Centers, Serve Tens of Thousands More Children and Families, Create Jobs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that Head Start and Early Head Start programs will receive funding and be eligible to apply for grants worth $2.1 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Head Start will receive $1 billion, while $1.1 billion will benefit Early Head Start.  Head Start will also benefit from a separate $235 million increase in funding for fiscal year 2009, bringing the total funding increase for Head Start and Early Head Start to more than $2.3 billion.

“Head Start and Early Head Start programs have helped put millions of children on the path to success,” said HHS Spokeswoman Jenny Backus. “The Recovery Act will strengthen these critical programs and ensure they can serve more families in these tough economic times.”

Grants totaling nearly $220 million will allow current Head Start grantees to serve 16,600 additional children and families.  Grants worth nearly $1.2 billion, will support Early Head Start expansion and allow the program to serve 55,000 more pregnant women, infants, toddlers and their families and nearly double the number of Early Head Start participants. Applications for these grants will be available in the coming weeks. The increased number of children and families served by these grants will create new jobs at Head Start and Early Head Start centers as more additional staff are hired to handle increased enrollment.

Head Start ARRA funds worth nearly $354 million will help improve staff compensation and training, upgrade Head Start centers and classrooms, increase hours of operation and enhance transportation services. An additional $466 million, $110 million from Early Head Start ARRA funds and $356 million from Head Start ARRA and fiscal year 2009 appropriation funds, will be used to award all Head Start and Early Head Start grantees a nearly five percent cost-of-living increase and bolster training and technical assistance activities.

The Recovery Act will also bolster coordination between Head Start, Early Head Start and state-run early childhood care and education programs by providing grants worth $100 million in Head Start ARRA funds to states to establish advisory councils on early childhood education and care.

Head Start was established in 1965 to promote school readiness and provide a comprehensive array of health, nutritional and social services to eligible four and five year old preschoolers and their families.  The program has enrolled more than 25 million children since its inception.  The Early Head Start program was established in 1995 for children from birth to three years of age and pregnant women in recognition of scientific evidence that a child’s earliest years are extremely important to healthy development.

A breakdown of the activity and source of Head Start and Early Head Start funding from the Recovery Act and Congressional appropriation is included below. Quality funds and the cost-of-living adjustment will be available immediately as grantees submit requests and funds for expansion and advisory councils will be available as guidance is issued in the coming weeks. 

The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the ARRA, visit http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/.

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