Head Start Prepares Children and Families for Future Success

Catholic Charities’ Head Start/Early Head Start programs promote school readiness and family self-sufficiency through holistic services. Catholic Charities’ programs nurture and respect the individual strengths and areas for growth in each child and family served.  An emphasis is placed on engaging parents in all aspects of the program and helping them to realize their full potential in order to enhance the long-term benefits of the program.  Strong, supportive relationships  and extensive community partnerships have been established to support families’ goal attainment.

Head Start is our nation’s leading investment in early childhood care and education. Head Start provides a range of comprehensive education, health, nutrition, parent involvement, and family support services and has primarily served at-risk children and their families since 1965. The primary goal of Head Start is to promote the school readiness of low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

 Head Start actually consists of two programs: Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS). HS is a comprehensive early childhood development program primarily serving at-risk preschool-age children and their families. EHS is a comprehensive early childhood program serving primarily at-risk children prenatal to age three, pregnant women, and their families.

HS and EHS programs serve children in families earning income at or below the federal poverty level, which for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia is $23,550 during 2011.

Benefits of Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

  • Educational Benefits: By the spring of their kindergarten year, HS graduates’ reading assessment scores reached national norms, and their general knowledge assessment scores were close to national norms.
  • Economic Benefits: Society receives nearly $9 in benefits for every $1 invested in children. These benefits include increased earnings, employment, and family stability, and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition, and special education.
  • Health Benefits: The mortality rates for 5- to 9-year-old children who attend Head Start are 33 to 50 percent lower than the rates for comparable children who are not enrolled in Head Start. Parents who participate in HS are found to have greater quality of life satisfaction; increased confidence in coping skills; and decreased feelings of anxiety, depression, and sickness.
  • Law Enforcement Benefits: HS children are significantly less likely to have been charged with a crime than their siblings who did not participate in HS.

Download the complete report and references. (PDF 43k)

Catholic Charities Programs

Catholic Charities Head Start and Early Head Start programs

Catholic Charities offers a wide range of human services and our HS/EHS programs integrate with many of them, enabling us to leverage existing resources to support our HS/EHS families. Our Head Start consultation service offers behavioral consultation and mental health referral services to children and families participating in Head Start locations in Baltimore City, Baltimore, Harford, and Carroll Counties. These programs also work closely with our HS/EHS programs:

  • Mental Health Consultation/Counseling
  • Food Services
  • Health Services
  • Schools
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation/ Behavior Support
  • Workforce Development
  • Anna’s House
  • Esperanza Center

Community Partnerships

Community partnerships are an important part of HS/EHS. The community partners of Catholic Charities HS/EHS programs include:Infants & Toddlers Programs- Children with Disabilities

  • Infants & Toddlers Programs- Children with Disabilities
  • Public Schools
  • PNC Bank- Grow Up Great Initiative
  • MD Science Center
  • Harford County Government
  • Carroll County Judy Center
  • Community Colleges
  • University of MD School of Nursing
  • College of Notre Dame School of Pharmacy
  • WIC
  • Health Department
  • Carroll County Early Childhood Consortium
  • Communities Engaged in Advocating for a Smoke Free Environment
  • Paul’s Place
  • South Baltimore Learning Center
  • Growing Smiles Family Dentist
  • BCHD Virtual Supermarket
  • Good Cause Foundation
  • LASOS (Linking All So Others Succeed)