Head Start Birth to Five

School Readiness

Project Head Start, launched as a summer program by the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1965, was designed to break the cycle of poverty by providing preschool children and their families with a program to meet their social, health, nutritional and psychological needs.  Head Start is now an $8.5 billion program that provides comprehensive services to low-income children from age three to the age of school attendance.  A new program, Early Head Start, serving children from birth to three years was initiated in 1995.  Head Start serves more than 1 million children and families nationwide, through a network of approximately 1,700 grantees.

The city of Phoenix Head Start Program is administered by the Human Services Department, Education Division. Since its inception in 1965, our program has provided comprehensive child and family development services to more than 60,000 families.  In March 2015, the city of Phoenix Head Start program celebrated its 50th anniversary.​

Head Start has experienced growth in recent years, with the expansion​ of Head Start and Early Head Start through stimulus funding.  The program currently receives approximately $31 million in federal assistance and serves more than 3,500 children each year in the critical areas listed below.



Indicators of Readiness<div class="ExternalClass49A8637F2E434E93AB0D90583073B81D"><p>​Each child receives a variety of individualized learning experiences to foster social, intellectual, physical and emotional growth.  Children participate in indoor and outdoor play and are introduced to the concepts of words and numbers.  They are encouraged to express their feelings, develop self-confidence and their ability to get along with others.</p></div>
Health and Nutrition<div class="ExternalClass8A13564EBC5B428D8C2AB28DF7AC2EE1"><p>​Head Start emphasizes preventive care and early detection of health problems.  Every child receives a complete physical examination including vision and hearing tests, immunizations, a dental exam and identification of disabling conditions.  Follow-up services are provided.  Through the nutrition program, children are served a minimum of one balanced meal and a healthful snack each day.</p></div>
Parent Involvement<div class="ExternalClass30E0E37D00DA4D5BAEE5B23C74002262"><p>​An essential part of every Head Start program is the involvement of parents in education, program planning and operation.  Parents play an active role in all aspects of the program.  Through that involvement and other training and activities, parents also have the opportunity to gain skills and secure employment.  Many employees at both the grantee and delegate agency levels are former Head Start parents.</p></div>
Social Services<div class="ExternalClass3A7FA354EFE64229888D527ED3107331"><p>​A case management program assists families in assessing their own needs, identifying and securing services and building upon their individual strengths.  A variety of community resources are available to families in addition to crisis intervention and emergency assistance.</p></div>
​​​Early Childhood Special Education<div class="ExternalClass13FFB42A68D3498FAEF3E7A344C831CE"><p>At least 10 percent of Head Start's enrollment is dedicated to children with disabilities or other special needs.  Specially trained staff work closely with community agencies to provide services to children while simultaneously providing them with an integrated, developmentally appropriate early childhood experience within Head Start classrooms.</p></div>
​Mental Health<div class="ExternalClassCC77FF9A63CA4BF4BF77E7F048A79059"><p>Mental health professionals work with staff and parents to increase awareness of the special problems of children and provide a link to mental health resources.</p></div>
Resources for Families<div class="ExternalClassB20B6004D8C941DE813740ECDBE2682F"><p><span style="font-size:18pt;">Find Help Phoenix</span></p><p>Maricopa County Department of Public Health created FindHelpPhx.org and its Spanish partner site EncuentraAyudaPhx.org to give Maricopa County residents an easy way to find health and social services for themselves. The website is easy to use and available where there is internet access, including smartphones.</p><p>​<a href="https://www.findhelpphx.org/">https://www.findhelpphx.org/</a></p><p> </p><p>Community Information and Referral Services was founded in 1964 and incorporated as a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in 1979.</p><p><a href="https://211arizona.org/">https://211arizona.org/</a> </p><p> </p><p><span style="color:#444444;font-size:18pt;">Women, Infants & Children (WIC)</span></p><h2 class="subhead1" style="margin-top:0px !important;"><span style="color:#444444;">What Does WIC Provide?</span></h2><ul><li>Breastfeeding support</li><li>Healthy foods</li><li>Nutrition information</li><li>Referrals to health care and other social services</li></ul><h2 class="subhead1"><span style="color:#444444;">Who is WIC For?</span></h2><ul><li>Breastfeeding women</li><li>Children (under age 5)</li><li>Infants</li><li>Postpartum women</li><li>Pregnant women</li></ul><p><a href="https://www.maricopa.gov/1491/Women-Infants-Children-WIC">https://www.maricopa.gov/1491/Women-Infants-Children-WIC</a></p></div>