Long Island Head Start
98 Austin Street, Patchogue, New York 11772
Phone (631) 758-5200
Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community. Many Head Start and Early Head Start programs are based in centers and schools. Other programs are located in child care centers and family child care homes. Some programs offer home-based services that assigned dedicated staff who conduct weekly visits to children in their own home and work with the parent as the child’s primary teacher.
Over fifty years ago Head Start began as a program for preschoolers. Today 3- and 4-year-olds make up over 80 percent of the children served by Head Start programs each year. Early Head Start was created to serve pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start programs are available to the family until the child turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program. Just recently, many Early Head Start programs have been funded to partner directly with existing infant and toddler child care programs, resulting in higher quality services to all children enrolled in the child care program.
Head Start programs support children’s growth and development in a positive learning environment through a variety of services, which include:
Early learning: Children’s readiness for school and beyond is fostered through individualized learning experiences. Through relationships with adults, play, and planned and spontaneous instruction, children grow in many aspects of development. Children progress in social skills and emotional well-being, along with language and literacy learning, and concept development.
Health: Each child’s perceptual, motor, and physical development is supported to permit them to fully explore and function in their environment. All children receive health and development screenings, nutritious meals, oral health and mental health support. Programs connect families with medical, dental, and mental health services to ensure that children are receiving the services they need.
Family well-being: Parents and families are supported in achieving their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families around children’s learning and development.
Early Head Start
Early Head Start is community-based program for low-income families with pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to age 3. It is a program that came out of Head Start. The program was designed in 1994 by an Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers formed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. “In addition to providing or linking families with needed services—medical, mental health, nutrition, and education—Early Head Start can provide a place for children to experience consistent, nurturing relationships and stable, ongoing routines.”
Early Head Start offer three different options and programs may offer one or more to families. The three options are: a home-based option, a center-based option, or a combination option in which families get a set number of home visits and a set number of center-based experiences, There are also locally designed options, which in some communities include family child care.
Long Island Head Start staff provides Early Child Development services including:
• Mental Health
• Family/Community Partnership
• Services for children with disabilities
• Support services to their families
• Universal Pre-K (UPK)
Who Is Eligible to participate in Head Start?
Children from birth to age five who are from families with incomes below the poverty guidelines are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services. Children from homeless families, and families receiving public assistance such as TANF or SSI are also eligible. Foster children are eligible regardless of their foster family’s income. The 2016 HHS Poverty Guidelines. (https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines)
Eligibility for Children with diagnosed disabilities
If your child has a diagnosed disability and has an Individual Education Plan-IEP that affects their learning ability, your child may qualify for enrollment in Head Start regardless of household income.
Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP)
Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships (EHS-CCP) were created by the FY2014 Federal budget bill, which provided $500 million to the new program. This new funding for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships is an exciting opportunity for communities to plan how they can expand access to high-quality early care and education for low-income children and families. The EHS-Child Care Partnership Program enhances and supports early learning settings to provide comprehensive and continuous services. It increases access to high-quality, full-day, full-year child care, including family child care, for low-income working families. The program also supports the development of infants and toddlers through strong relationship-based experiences and prepares them for the transition into Head Start and preschool.
EHS-CCP brings together the best of EHS and child care through layering of funding. All infants and toddlers attending an EHS-CCP program benefit from facilities and homes that are licensed and meet safety requirements. Children in classrooms with EHS-CCP-enrolled children also benefit from qualified teachers receiving ongoing supervision and coaching to support implementation of curriculum and responsive care giving. Only enrolled EHS-CCP children are eligible for direct family-specific benefits such as home visits, health tracking and follow-up and individualized family support services. However, EHS-CCP programs operationalize services to ensure there is no segregation or stigmatization of EHS-CCP children due to the additional requirements or services.
The EHS-CCP program brings together the strengths of child care and EHS programs. Child care centers and family child care providers respond to the needs of working families by offering flexible and convenient full-day/full-year services. In addition, child care providers have experience providing care that is strongly grounded in the cultural, linguistic, and social needs of the families and their local communities. Through the EHS-CCP program, child care centers and family child care providers have access to resources to provide the comprehensive services needed to support better outcomes for the nation’s most vulnerable children. EHS is a research-based program that emphasizes the importance of responsive and caring relationships to support the optimal development of infants and toddlers. EHS provides comprehensive family-centered services that adhere to the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) to support high-quality learning environments. Integrating EHS comprehensive services and resources into the array of traditional child care and family child care settings creates new opportunities to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their families.