Head Start is a federally funded, comprehensive child development program that has served over 30 million low-income families nationwide since 1965. This program promotes the school readiness of children from birth to age five from low income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Head Start provides a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement. All of the services are responsive and appropriate to the development, cultural and linguistic heritage, and the abilities of each enrolled child and family.
In 2014-2015, there were 11,627 children in poverty under the age of five in Montana. But today, there are 20 Head Start programs across Montana serving preschool-aged children and working to change those statistics for the better.
In addition to Head Start, the reauthorization of the Head Start Act in 1994 made it possible to establish Early Head Start as a program to serve infants and toddlers under the age of three and pregnant women. Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers, their families, and pregnant women.