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.