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How can I get my child into Head Start?


Contact the Head Start or Early Head Start agency serving your community. Your local Head Start agency will provide the required forms and answer questions about the program. The local agency will also help you find the Head Start Center closest to your home.

Finding a Program

To find a local Head Start or Early Head Start program to contact in your area, use the on-line national Head Start Program Search Tool at: Enter your Zip Code to find the program nearest to your home or work.

Contact the listed programs closest to your community, even if they are some distance away. These are the main program offices which can tell you if there is a Head Start center in your area. Many of the organizations found in the Search Tool operate additional Head Start centers that are not listed, so there may be a program closer to your home than it appears.

If you need more help to find a Head Start or Early Head Start program in your area, we would be happy to assist you. Call the Head Start Information and Publication Center toll-free at: 1-866-763-6481.


Children from birth to age five from families with low-income are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. The Head Start Family Income Guidelines are available at: IM-05 The 2008 Family Income Guidelines.

Other eligible categories of children include:

  • Children from families receiving public assistance (TANF or SSI) are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services regardless of income.
  • Children in foster care are Head Start eligible, regardless of family income.
  • Ten percent of enrollments are offered to children with disabilities.
  • Children who come from families with slightly higher income may be able to participate in Head Start when space is available. Your local program can discuss this with you.

If you are ineligible for Head Start, the Child Care Aware program can help you in locating other child care services in your community. To find the local child care resource and referral agency, please contact:

Child Care Aware

Toll-free: 800-424-2246
Web site:




Last Updated: 04/28/2008