Early Head Start

The Head Start Home-Based Program Option utilizes the Early Head Start (EHS)/Head Start Parent-Focused Approach to provide high quality, flexible, and culturally competent child development and parent support services to families in their home. These services have an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s most important relationship. EHS programs provide home-based services as an option, whereby, children and families receive the same comprehensive services as those participating in the center-based option.  The center-based and home-based options must both meet the Head Start Performance Standards. The Head start center-based programs focuses on the child in a classroom setting and the home-based program focuses on the child and family in a home setting.

All home visitors receive extensive pre-service training, based on the required EHS/Head Start Program Performance Standards and are given planning and set up time for their visits.

Program Model Components

The home-based option is an approved method for the delivery of services to families and children enrolled in the EHS program.  This option enables home visitors to learn about the quality of life for families in the community served; to assess family strengths, interests, and needs; and to use to use this information for developing an individualized program for family members.  The home-based model must provide comprehensive services in each of the EHS/Head Start Component Areas (education/child development, medical and dental health, nutrition, mental health, social services, and parent engagement).  Home visitors will use an integrated approach in providing these services and they must form a partnership with families.

The EHS/Head Start Home Visiting/home-based services include:

  • One home visit per week per family (a minimum of 32 home visits per year) lasting for a minimum of 90-minutes each.
  • Two group socialization activities per month for eachparent and their children. (a minimum of 16 group socialization  activities each year)
  • Ensuring cancelled visits or group activities are rescheduled and completed.

Home visitors maintain an average caseload of 10 to 12 families per home visitor with a maximum of 12 families for any individual home visitor and supervisors are assigned 10-12 home visitors for whom they are responsible. 

Target Population

Early Head Start-Home Visiting targets low-income pregnant women and families with children birth to age 3 years. To be eligible for Early Head Start-Home Visiting, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. However, Early Head Start-Home Visiting programs must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state.

More Information

Administration for Children and Families

Office of Head Start (OHS)    
Website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/

Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office
1400 W. Markham Suite 406
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-371-0740  or 866-371-0740
Website: http://arheadstart.org/start/

Jackie Govan jackie.govan@arheadstart.org