Federally subsidized child care

There are two types of programs, Early Head Start and Head Start, designed to help children from low-income families and children with disabilities develop social skills and reach their full potential. Children from applicable families are eligible for a free child care program called the Head Start Program. Federal grants fund it.
The Head Start program promotes school readiness by nurturing children’s social skills and enhancing their overall development through comprehensive educational, medical, nutritional, and welfare services to enrolled children and their families. The program also encourages parental intervention in their children’s learning and helps parents fulfill their educational, knowledge, and employment goals. We specifically focus on parental involvement because children learn from their parents.

[ Early Head Start ]
Early Head Start is an annual program for pregnant women from low-income families and their children up to age three and their families. Children and parents enrolled in Early Head Start receive a quality pediatric education in a warm environment, parent education and engagement, health and mental health referrals, including pre-mom education, and family support on nutrition.

[ Head Start ]
Head Start is a program for low-income families with children ages 3-5. The program provides (1) educational services (a warm environment where each child can reach their full potential, individualized lesson plans with teachers, evidence- and research-based curriculum, education for children with special needs, and literacy activities for children and parents), (2) health services (medical, dental, vision and hearing screening and treatment, nutrition services including diet and counseling, health education, mental health screening, and referral, and assistance in finding a primary care physician for the family), ③ Family services (family initiatives, referral to community systems, assistance in establishing family goals, Parent Policy Council, parent education programs, help in developing skills to advocate for one’s rights, and support in transitioning from Head Start to public school).

[ Applicable Qualifications ]
To be eligible for the Head Start program, you must meet either (1) categorical eligibility or (2) income-based eligibility.

[ Categorical Eligibility]
Must fall under one of the following categories. Proof of income is not required, but proof of applicable items is required.
– Homeless
– In foster care or other care facilities
– Receiving public assistance such as SSI or TANF

[ Eligibility by Income]
Must be at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines income. Proof of income such as pay stubs or W-2 is required.

Number of

Family Members

As of 2017

[ How to Apply ]
Apply to the Head Start program closest to your home; use the Head Start Locator to find the nearest location and ask about the next steps. They will tell you about the application form and what documents to submit. Or you can call 1-866-763-6481 to find the nearest location.

NYSDOH: Head Start and Early Head Start
HSS: Head Start

Click to copy link[ Last Updated: April, 2022 ]


Ways to Give

Please Support JASSI
Guidestar JASSI certification

JASSI has earned the Gold Seal for our transparency from Guidestar, the world's largest database of nonprofits. More on

Guidestar JASSI website