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The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school.

Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. They engage parents in their children’s learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy, and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.

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

Source of definition: Office of Head Start

Date of definition: Date of definition: December 2007

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

Head Start FY2007, Number of Sites

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

Source of data: Illinois Head Start Association, Ounce of Prevention, and Chicago Youth Services

Date of data: FY 2007 (school year 2006-2007) (with some data for FY2008; see note below)

Geographic region: These data are available by state, county, township, IL State Senate district, IL State House district, ISBE region, and IDHS region.

Note: The data are derived from three sources: Illinois Head Start Association (ILHSA) provided data for sites outside the City of Chicago.

Chicago Youth Services (CYS) provided data for those sites in the City of Chicago for which it served as grantee (the vast majority of the sites).

Ounce of Prevention provided data for sites in the City of Chicago for which it served as grantee (a few sites).

Note: The data on Head Start that are being presented on IECAM as FY 2007 (school year 2006-2007) actually mix two data years: FY 2007 for all sites outside the City of Chicago, and a few sites in the City of Chicago for which the Ounce of Prevention is the grantee; and

FY 2008 for most sites within the City of Chicago, for which CYS is the grantee.

In order to provide the most current Head Start data and site locations, IECAM has combined the data for two separate time periods (Chicago for FY 2008 and the rest of the state for FY 2007). When all data for FY 2008 are available, data for the entire state will be presented for that time period.

Note: In the GIS (Geographic Information System) section of the IECAM Web site, all Head Start sites are displayed on the map by the same symbol. However, sites for FY 2008 in the City of Chicago are presented in one color, while sites for FY 2007 for the rest of the state are presented in a different color.

Head Start FY2007, Funded Enrollment

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

Source of data: Illinois Head Start Association, Ounce of Prevention, and Chicago Youth Services

Date of data: FY 2007 (school year 2006-2007) (with some data for FY2008; see note below)

Geographic region: These data are available by state, county, township, IL State Senate district, IL State House district, ISBE region, and IDHS region.

Note: The data are derived from three sources: Illinois Head Start Association (ILHSA) provided data for sites outside the City of Chicago.

Chicago Youth Services (CYS) provided data for those sites in the City of Chicago for which it served as grantee (the vast majority of the sites).

Ounce of Prevention provided data for sites in the City of Chicago for which it served as grantee (a few sites).

Note: The number of children that a 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: The data on Head Start that are being presented on IECAM as FY 2007 (school year 2006-2007) actually mix two data years: FY 2007 for all sites outside the City of Chicago, and a few sites in the City of Chicago for which the Ounce of Prevention is the grantee; and

FY 2008 for most sites within the City of Chicago, for which CYS is the grantee.

The reason for this presentation is that the change in locations of Head Start sites from FY 2007 to FY 2008 in the City of Chicago was extremely drastic. Therefore, based on consultation with Head Start personnel, it was determined that presenting the FY2007 Head Start data for the City of Chicago would be misleading to users who visited the IECAM site with the intent of getting an accurate indication of Head Start data and site location.

However, when the FY 2008 data are available for the rest of the state, the two years will then be separated. All FY 2007 data will be reported for FY 2007, and all FY 2008 data will be reported for FY 2008.

Head Start FY2007, Grantees

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

Source of data: Illinois Head Start Association (ILHSA)

Date of data: FY 2007 (school year 2006-2007)

Geographic region: These data are available by 47 grantee service areas within the State of Illinois.

Note: View the list of Head Start grantees for FY2007.

Note: Additional information on Head Start can be found on the Administration for Children & Families Office of Head Start page.

Note: Children from birth to age five from families with income below the poverty line are eligible for Head Start (preschool age children) and Early Head Start services (birth to age three and pregnant women). Children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) qualify for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of family income. Foster children are also Head Start and Early Head Start eligible regardless of their foster family’s income. (Programs may, however, enroll up to 10% of their children from families that do not meet the above requirements.)

From ACF Question and Answers Support, Summary: How Can I get my child into Head Start?