What We Do

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 Birth to 5 early childhood workforce.
  • 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.