Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Head Start Facts and Impacts

Children that participate in Head Start programs receive innumerable benefits. These advantages appear immediately, last a lifetime, and even have an effect on other generations.

The effects are particularly strong amongst certain subgroups of children, particularly Hispanic and African-American children, dual language learners, children who are homeless or in foster care, those who qualify for free lunch, and those whose mothers didn’t graduate high school. When disadvantaged children receive high-quality birth-to-five education, such as Early Head Start plus Head Start, the return on investment can be as high as 13% annually (Garcia et al, 2016).  The advantages Head Start children experience include:

Head Start children make progress towards norms in language, literacy, and math. Head Start children also score at the norm on letter-word knowledge by the end of the year. (Aikens et al., 2013Bloom and Weiland, 2015)

Early Head Start children show significantly better social-emotional, language, and cognitive development. Children who attend Early Head Start and transition to Head Start are more ready for kindergarten than children who do not attend Head Start.  (Love et al., 2002)

The Head Start Impact Study found Head Start children scored better than a control group of children in all measured domains of cognitive and social-emotional development. (U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, 2010)

Head Start children in foster care or other non-parental care are more ready for school. (Lipscomb et al., 2013)

Head Start children have better social skills, impulse control, and approaches to learning. Head Start children also decrease their problem behaviors, such as aggression and hyperactivity. (Aikens et al., 2013)

Obese, overweight, or underweight children who participate in Head Start have a significantly healthier BMI by kindergarten entry. (Lumeng et al., 2015)

Children in Early Head Start are more likely to be immunized and have services for children with disabilities (Love et al., 2002).

Head Start children are more likely to receive dental checkups and have healthy eating patterns than non-participants. They have lower body mass index (BMI) scores and are less likely to be overweight compared to children in other non-parental care. (Lee et al., 2013)

When families participate in Head Start (as opposed to no ECE), children are 93% less likely to end up in foster care, a correlation not found by participating in any other types of ECE. (Klein et. al., 2017)

Children show additional gains in social-emotional development as a result of participating in Head Start at both 3 and 4 years old. (Aikens et al., 2013)