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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: March 2016

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

Early Head Start FY2015, 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: FY2015 (school year 2014-2015)

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, Unit and Elementary School District, and Chicago Community Area.

Note on source of data: The data for FY2015 are derived from: Head Start Collaboration Office provided data for all sites in the state, which IECAM used to aggregate to the various regions.

Note on center-based and home-based service: The data for FY2015 on “number of sites” include only center-based service. The locations of home-based service are not inlcuded as sites. The data on “funded enrollment” include both center-based and home-based funded enrollment. This is the case for all geographic regions.

Early Head Start FY2015, 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: FY2015 (school year 2014-2015)

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, Unit and Elementary School District, and Chicago Community Area.

Note on source of data: Data for FY2015 are derived from: 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.

Note on data from PIR, state total; and EHS/CC Partnerships: Head Start’s Program Information Report (PIR) reports a total ACF Funded Enrollment of 5,870 for the state of Illinois. This total includes the funded enrollment for the Early Head Start / Child Care (EHS/CC) Partnerships.

This total differs from the total funded enrollment reported in the IECAM database, which is 4,634. This number does not include the funded enrollment in the EHS/CC partnerships; and it also differs somewhat 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.

Note on center-based and home-based service: The data for FY2015 on “number of sites” include only center-based service. The locations of home-based service are not inlcuded as sites. The data on “funded enrollment” include both center-based and home-based funded enrollment. This is the case for all geographic regions.

Note that this is different from how home-based service was reported in previous years. In 2012-2014, although the source data did not identify all home-based service as such, all of the home-based funded enrollment was included in the total funded enrollment reported for all regions (because the source data that IECAM received associated home-based service with site locations). Therefore, it would be accurate to compare total funded enrollment (center-based and home-based) for all geographic regions between FY2015 and FY2012, FY2013, and FY2014.

In 2009 through 2011, the home-based service was reported only for state, county, ISBE region, and IDHS region (because the source data that IECAM received did not associate home-based service with site locations). Therefore, it would be accurate to compare total funded enrollment (center-based and home-based) for FY2015 and for FY2009, FY2010, and FY2011, only for the geographic regions of state, county, ISBE region, and IDHS region, but not for any other geographic regions.

Note that search results by a geographic region (e.g., municipality or township) may show an area of that region (i.e., a particular municipality or township) with funded enrollment but no sites. This is because all of the service in that area is home-based.

Note: See lists of Early Head Start home-based funded enrollment by region

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: For center-based service, the funded enrollment is reported for the location at which the children are served, not the location of the children’s home. For home-based service, the funded enrollment is reported for the office location of the Head Start staff who go to the children’s home.

Head Start FY2015, 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: FY2015 (school year 2014-2015)

Note: See a list of Head Start and Early Head Start grantees for FY2015 (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.