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Head Start

Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Over a million children are served by Head Start programs every year, including children in every U.S. state and territory and in American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Since 1965, nearly 30 million low-income children and their families have received these comprehensive services to increase their school readiness. Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community.

The Office of Head Start (OHS) Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) system supports program staff in their delivery of quality services to children and families.

The current system consists of three levels of T/TA: national, state or regional, and grantee. While each level has distinct and unique functions, they are designed to complement each other. Structured, high-quality T/TA best supports the school readiness of all children and families.

Leading the delivery of T/TA at the national level are six centers:
1. The National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations
2. The Early Head Start National Resource Center
3. The National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning
4. The National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
5. The National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness
6. The National Center on Health

Experts with extensive Head Start experience and evidence-based practices that positively affect the lives of young children and their families staff each center’s specialized area of focus. Each center provides local programs and T/TA specialists with materials and resources appropriate in a variety of program settings and populations served by Head Start. The team formed by these six centers works in close collaboration with OHS. In this collaboration, they advise on current research and emerging best practices.