About the Office of Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start are administered by the Office of Head Start (OHS), within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

OHS administers grant funding and oversight to the agencies that provide Head Start services. OHS also provides federal policy direction and a training and technical assistance (T/TA) system to assist grantees in providing comprehensive services to eligible young children and their families.

Head Start was appropriated $7,573,095,000 for FY 2013, including $7,278,195,000 awarded directly to public agencies, private nonprofit and for-profit organizations, tribal governments and school systems to operate Head Start programs in local communities. T/TA received $189,330,000 to improve the quality of services provided by grantees. Half that amount was awarded directly to grantees to be used for local T/TA, and the other half funded the national system. More details around OHS funding can be found in the FY 2013 Fact Sheet.

The priorities of OHS are to:

  • Ensure that all programs have school readiness goals around the five essential domains for all children birth to 5 in all program options.
  • Use child assessment and self-assessment data to track progress on the goals overtime.
  • Continue to implement a Designation Renewal System and a five year grant process that strengthens and supports comprehensive services, program management, governance, and fiscal operations.
  • Support all programs in meeting health and safety Program Performance Standards.
  • Implement a quality, responsive T/TA system.
  • Strengthen the early childhood workforce birth to 5.
  • Support implementation of the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework and effective family engagement in programs and communities.
  • Support partnerships between Head Start and Early Head Start, child care, early care and education systems, schools, and communities to improve continuity for children and families across learning, health, and other community settings.
  • Promote high-quality teaching practices, including effective teacher-child interactions.

OHS Leadership and Organization

Ann Linehan - photoAnn Linehan is the acting director of OHS. She has held senior management positions with OHS for 15 years and  served as the deputy director since 2011.

Ann began her career as a special needs teacher for medically fragile children. She served nearly a decade as the executive director of a Massachusetts nonprofit agency that provided Head Start and child care services in eight communities. She holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and psychology and a master's in education from Boston State.

OHS has 12 Regional Offices that support the administration of grants, oversight, and T/TA. These offices are located in Boston, MA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Kansas City, MO; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. The Regional Offices for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs are located in Washington, DC .