Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Head Start and Early Head Start and its program branches are comprehensive child development programs that serve children from birth to age five, pregnant women, and their families. As expressed in the Head Start Act, the purpose of the Head Start program is “to promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of low-income children through the provision, to low-income children and their families, of health, educational, nutritional, social, and other services that are determined, based on family needs assessments, to be necessary.” The comprehensive nature of the program strives to ensure educational benefits, economic benefits, health benefits, and law enforcement benefits. This entry records the program's history and current implementation. Head Start began during the mid-1960s as part of President Lyndon Johnson's “War on Poverty.” The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 authorized programs to help communities meet the needs of preschool-age children in disadvantaged circumstances. At the ...