What We Do

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

The Office of Head Start (OHS) administers grant funding and oversight to the 1,600 public and private nonprofit and for-profit 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. Learn more about Head Start Services.

The Office of Head Start was appropriated $9.22 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017. Of that amount, $8.88 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, nearly $224 million was directed to T/TA. Half that amount was awarded directly to grantees to be used for local T/TA, and the other half funded the regional and national system. More details about OHS funding and the services provided through this funding can be found in the FY 2017 Program Facts Sheet.

To learn about how to apply for a Head Start grant, see the Funding Opportunity section.

Last Reviewed: February 11, 2019