Head Start / Early Head Start
Head Start / Early Head Start is a free, high-quality educational program for eligible children from birth through 5 years of age.
Early Head Start serves children from birth until they are 3 years old, as well as expectant mothers.
Head Start serves children who are 3 to 4 years old by September 1, or no older than 5 years old after September 1.
Children do not need to be potty trained for either program.
Head Start services are for families living in Miami-Dade County only.
- Full-day educational programs
- Child development screenings
- Health and nutrition services
- Free breakfast, lunch and snack
- Parent engagement opportunities
- Support services for children with special needs
- Transportation assistance is provided to children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) receiving a prescribed treatment or therapy arranged by the program. Full details regarding transportation options will be provided.
How to Apply
Income-eligible families in Miami-Dade County can apply for this free program at any time of the year.
- Proof of age (birth certificate)
- Proof of income (paystub, W2, public assistance, homeless or foster care)
- Proof of Miami-Dade County residency (driver's license, utility bill or lease agreement)
- Photo identification of parent or legal guardian
- If child has a diagnosed disability, provide the Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP) for Early Head Start or the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for Head Start.
Children with Disabilities
Early intervention helps children meet development milestones through a wide range of services. The Head Start / Early Head Start program provides an avenue for children with a suspected developmental delay and their families to receive targeted support and resources needed for children to catch up and increase their chances for success in school and life. In addition, the program accepts children with asthma, anemia, diabetes, physical or mental disability identified by a medical professional.
- Screenings to assist with early detection of a possible developmental delay or health concern
- Referral to Local Education Agency and Local Early Steps for assessments and evaluation
- In-class support from qualified teaching staff while early intervention services are being established
- Development and implementation of an individualized plan to help children meet developmental milestones
- Transition from Early Head Start to Head Start and later into their local school district
About Head Start
The Community Action and Human Services Department's Head Start / Early Head Start program is the largest comprehensive early childhood education and development program of its kind in the southeastern United States, and was recognized as a Program of Excellence by the National Head Start Association.
The program focuses on the social, physical and emotional development of children from birth to 5 years of age, ensuring that children are school-ready. Each year, the program offers education, child development and family support services to nearly 7,000 children, expectant mothers and their families.
The program provides all children with a language-rich and supportive environment to develop strong early literacy, math, science and social skills that are necessary to succeed in school and life, while engaging parents in their children's educational experiences. The program utilizes an evidence-based curriculum that supports the implementation of national and local standards of development and school readiness through a hands-on approach. The program also offers enhancements in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities in the classroom and professional development opportunities for staff, teachers and teacher assistants.
Families are encouraged to be active participants in their child's educational experience, while getting involved in Head Start's planning and decision-making process. Parents can gain experience in leadership and community advocacy by serving on committees or representing their center on the County's Head Start Policy Council.
The Head Start / Early Head Start program includes the oversight of 17 delegate agencies in the provision of high-quality early childhood education in more than 350 classrooms, in over 90 locations across Miami-Dade County.