Home Early Head Start

Early Head Start

What Does EHS Do?

In 1972, the Office of Child Development (now known as the Administration for Children and Families) funded 16 communities to demonstrate approaches providing comprehensive Head Start services to parents as the first and most important educators of their own children. Due to the effectiveness of the project, in 1973, the Head Start Home-Based Program Option was made available to all Head Start Agencies. The EHS/Head Start Parent-Focused Approach was created and made a part of EHS/Head Start’s home-based philosophy.

The program model focuses on providing high quality, flexible, and culturally competent child development and parent support services with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s most important relationship. EHS programs provides home and/or center-based options, whereas, children and families receive the same comprehensive services as those participating in the center-based option. Although both options must meet the Head Start Performance Standards, there is one major difference between them. The Head start center-based programs option focuses on the child in a classroom setting and the home-based 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.

How It Works:

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 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 each child (a minimum of 16 group socialization activities each year).parents and their children.
  • Making up any planned home visits or scheduled group socialization activities that were cancelled
  • Allowing trained staff employed time to participate in pre-service training, to plan, and to set up options at the start of the year.

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. 

Who Does EHS Work With?

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.

How To Get Started:
{{item.['display name']}}

Jackie Govan
Collaboration Director, Arkansas Head Start
 jackie.govan@arheadstart.org

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/