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Head Start

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Head Start is a locally operated, federally funded program that provides a comprehensive child development program for 3- to 5-year-old children from low-income families in 98 of Iowa’s 99 counties. The program provides services to promote academic, social and emotional development, as well as providing social, health, and nutrition services. Program eligibility is for children and families at or below the federal poverty level who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits or where children have disabilities.

Eighteen programs operate Head Start services in Iowa, serving 7,915 children (2006–2007) from 7,312 families.

The Head Start program is administered by the Office of Head Start, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, and the ;Department of Health and Human Services. Grants are awarded by ACF Regional Offices and the Office of Head Start’s American Indian – Alaska Native and Migrant and Seasonal Program Branches directly to public agencies, private organizations, Indian Tribes and school system s for the purpose of operating Head Start program the community level. Currently, grants in Iowa are awarded by the ACF Regional Office in Kansas City. There are two Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs in Marengo, Iowa, and Muscatine, Iowa. These programs are operated by the Texas Migrant Council. The Head Start State Collaboration Office does not provide oversight to the Head Start programs in Iowa. Its purpose is to support strong partnerships between state government and local programs operating in Iowa.

Head Start provides comprehensive services. Every program is expected to deliver high quality services in the following areas:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Family and Community Partnerships
  • Health (including Oral Health and Mental Health services)
  • Services to Children with Disabilities

Legal Requirements and Reports

Iowa Head Start Annual Report 2005

Iowa Head Start Annual Report 2004

Head Start Program Performance Standards (45 CFR Part 1304) are the program requirement that all Early Head Start grantees must meet to assure high quality programs. These standards include regulations for both Head Start and Early Head Start.

Iowa HSSCO Reports

2009 Head Start Needs Assessment

2006-07 Head Start Program Information Report

Advisory Group

Iowa Head Start Association Board of Directors

Funding Sources

Head Start is supported with federal money. Grantees must match 25 percent of the funds they receive with local and state (non-federal) sources. For support levels for Iowa and other states, visit (link to

Contacts in Your Area

Head Start in Iowa Map


Iowa Head Start Association

Head Start State Collaboration Office

National Head Start Association

Region IIV Head Start Association

Early Head Start in Iowa

Results Iowa – Head Start in Iowa contributes to the governor’s leadership plan to provide 90% of Iowa’s 4 year-olds with a quality preschool experience.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on January 21, 2021 at 12:39pm.