About the Office of Head Start

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

OHS administers grant funding and oversight to 1,600 public and private nonprofit and for-profit agencies that provide Head Start services in local communities. Head Start and Early Head Start grantees provide services to over a million children every year, in every U.S. state and territory, in farm worker camps, and in over 155 tribal communities.

OHS provides federal policy direction, ongoing oversight, and a training and technical assistance (TTA) system to assist grantees in providing comprehensive services to eligible young children and their families.

OHS was appropriated $10.6 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2020.  In FY 2019, $10 billion was awarded for programs under the Head Start Act. Of that amount, $9.66 billion was awarded directly to public agencies, private nonprofit and for-profit organizations, tribal governments, and school systems to operate Head Start programs in local communities. To improve the quality of services provided by grantees, more than $239 million was directed to TTA. Half that amount was awarded directly to grantees to be used for local TTA, and the other half funded the regional and national system. More details about OHS funding and the services provided through this funding are in the FY 2019 Program Facts Sheet. Visit disclaimer page

Technical Assistance

The Office of Head Start (OHS) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) system supports program staff in delivering quality services to children and families. 

Policy

The Head Start Act and the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) define standards and minimum requirements for all Head Start services. 

Grantee Profiles and Reports Visit disclaimer page

These profiles  provide grantees with information regarding their performance and compliance with requirements governing Head Start and Early Head Start programs. 

Leadership

Bernadine Futrell, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Head Start (OHS) at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families.

History of Head Start

Explore key moments in Head Start history. Access archival photographs, videos, resources, and more.

Research

Research sponsored through Head Start funding over the past decade has provided valuable information to guide the field of early childhood programming and early childhood development.

OHS Organization

OHS has 12 Regional Offices that support the administration of grants, oversight, and TTA to Head Start grantees. 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
  • 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 .

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