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Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start programs are available to the family until the child turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program. Early Head Start helps families care for their infants and toddlers through early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive services.

The Early Head Start program is administered by the Office of Head Start; Administration for Children and Families (ACF); Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Early Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from prenatally to age 3. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services.

Early Head Start services are responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Early Head Start encourages the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teachers. Programs build relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community.

Source of definition: Office of Head Start

Date of definition: July 2015

Note: View definitions of data variables related to Head Start:

Early Head Start FY2014, Number of sites

The number of sites at which children are served in Head Start.

Source of data: Head Start Collaboration Office

Date of data: FY2014 (school year 2013-2014)

Geographic region: These data are available by state, county, township, IL State Senate district, IL State House district, Congressional District, ISBE region, IDHS region, municipality, ZCTA2010, and Unit and Elementary School District.

Note on sources: The data for FY2014 are derived from two sources:

  • Head Start Collaboration Office provided data for all sites in the state, which IECAM used to aggregate to the various regions. These numbers do not add up exactly to the total for the state as a whole as reported in the PIR, due to differences in how grantees reported their site-based data to the HS Collaboration Office and and how they reported their grantee-wide data to the federal HS program.
  • Data for the state of Illinois as a whole are derived from Head Start’s Program Information Report (PIR).

Note on center-based and home-based service: The data for FY2014 include number of sites and funded enrollment for both center-based and home-based Early Head Start. The sites reported for home-based locations are not those of the children being served, but those of the program office that provides the service.

Early Head Start FY2014, Funded Enrollment

The total number of children that an Early Head Start center is funded by the Office of Head Start to enroll at any one time.

Source of data: Head Start Collaboration Office

Date of data: FY2014 (school year 2013-2014)

Geographic region: These data are available by state, county, township, IL State Senate district, IL State House district, Congressional District, ISBE region, IDHS region, municipality, ZCTA2010, and Unit and Elementary School District.

Note on sources: Data for FY2014 are derived from two sources:

  • Head Start Collaboration Office provided data for all sites in the state, which IECAM used to aggregate to the various regions. These numbers do not add up exactly to the total for the state as a whole as reported in the PIR, due to differences in how grantees reported their site-based data to the HS Collaboration Office and and how they reported their grantee-wide data to the federal HS program.
  • Data for the state of Illinois as a whole are derived from Head Start’s Program Information Report (PIR).

Note on center-based and home-based service: The data for FY2014 include number of sites and funded enrollment for both center-based and home-based Head Start. The sites reported for home-based locations are not those of the children being served, but those of the program office that provides the service.

See a list of home-based funded enrollment by county. Note that there may be sites that provided home-based service, but for which the program did not report home-based service. This funded enrollment will not be included in the list.

Note on number of children served: The number of children that an Early Head Start center is funded to enroll at any one time may not be the same as the number that the center serves over the course of a school year. Because children may leave the site or center and be replaced by other children, the funded enrollment may be less than the total number of children served.

Note on location of children served: The funded enrollment is reported for the location at which the children are served, not the location of the children’s home.

Head Start FY2014, Grantees

Agencies or organizations that contract with the Office of Head Start to provide or subcontract Early Head Start services in their area.

Source of data: Head Start Collaboration Office, Illinois Head Start Association (ILHSA)

Date of data: FY2014 (school year 2013-2014)

Note: View the list of Head Start and Early Head Start grantees for FY2014 (information from IHSA Web site)

Note: Additional information on Head Start can be found on the Administration for Children & Families Office of Head Start page, and at the Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC).

Note on eligibility: Early Head Start services are available to pregnant women and children ages birth to three and their families. Eligibility is determined by local program staff. Your family may be eligible for Early Head Start services if your family’s income is determined to be at or below the federal poverty level. Programs may enroll some children from families whose incomes are higher than the federal poverty level if they meet other eligibility requirements. Families with circumstances such as homelessness, children in foster care, or receiving TANF or SSI qualify for services.