Young African American girl sitting under a tree readingHead Start is a federally-funded program that promotes school readiness in children from birth to age five for eligible families by providing resources and supports to enhance cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teachers and partners with parents and families to ensure the child’s well-being and ability to thrive.

Delaware Head Start Programs

Delaware offers child care options to families who are deemed eligible or who meet program requirements. These programs focus on academics, social skills, health and nutrition to better prepare all children for school success.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs support eligible children from low-income families as well as children with disabilities and those who are homeless from birth to their transition into kindergarten. Early Head Start programs offer services to pregnant women as well.

The Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) is for preschool-age children from income-eligible families as well as for children with documented delays or disabilities, regardless of income. Foster children, children who are homeless and families on TANF are also eligible. ECAP programs follow the Head Start Program Performance Standards and must also maintain a Delaware Stars 4 rating or higher. Pre-enrollment takes place each spring and again in August for the September-May school year.

The First Start Delaware Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) program supports partnerships between new or existing Early Head Start programs and child care providers who agree to meet the Head Start Program Performance Standards. It is part of the Federal Early Head Start program.

Below is a list of Head Start, Early Head Start, ECAP and EHS-CCP programs: