What is Head Start?
Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Through Head Start grand funding, schools and early childhood education centers are able to provide comprehensive education, nutrition, health, and parental engagement services to low- income children and families. Head Start early education programs support children from birth to age 5. Many Head Start programs help families access social and crisis supports, including housing assistance, parenting education, English as a second language, job training, mental health services and substance abuse prevention.
What is the History of Head Start?
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” As part of this effort, he appointed Robert Sargent Shriver Jr. to serve as the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Shriver worked with experts in the field of childhood developing, including doctors and pediatricians, to develop a program that would provide preschool children and their families with a comprehensive program to meet social, emotional, health, nutritional and psychological needs.
The first Head Start program started in 1965. Since its inception, Head Start has provided comprehensive childhood development services to more than 36 million children. In 1975, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the Head Start Performance Standards. The federal government reauthorized the Head Start program and expanded it to a full-day and full-year program. In 2007, the federal government reauthorized the Head Start program with bipartisan support.
What is MARC’s role with Head Start?
The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has been awarded the Head Start and Early Head Start grants for Clay, Platte and Jackson counties. We receive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MARC Head Start contracts with 17 community- based centers and school district programs to provide direct services, forming a network for improving the well-being of 2400 young children and their families. MARC is one of many Head Start providers across the United States.
How many slots are available?
We have approximately 2,400 slots available to serve children from birth through age 5.
Where are you located?
Our administrative offices are located at 600 Broadway Blvd Suite 200, Kansas City, Missouri 64105. Direct service provider locations are available online.
What are the benefits of Head Start?
Nearly 90 percent of a child’s brain develops by age 5. These are critical years to build social, emotional, cognitive, special and language skills. When children are able to participate in a high-quality early childhood education program, the benefits exceed beyond childhood. Children who attend Head Start are more likely to graduate from high school.
Head Start provides comprehensive, high-quality early education services that facilitate healthy development including physical and social/emotional development and prepare children for school success.
Do you serve children with disabilities or developmental delays?
Yes. We strive to serve all children who are eligible. MARC Head Start also works to fill at least 10 percent of our early education slots with children who have a disability or developmental delay.
Who do I contact to get my child enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start?
What documents do I need to bring when I apply for Head Start or Early Head Start?
- Proof of birth or proof of pregnancy for each child.
- Proof of income (e.g., most current tax return, W-2 and/or paystubs)
- Proof of 12 months of income.
- Proof of child support received for 12 months.
- Proof of SSI or TANF if you are currently receiving either.
- Pell Grants or scholarship information
- Proof of residency for Jackson, Clay or Platte counties. Proof of residency can include a utility bill, rental contact or Missouri state property tax receipt with your current address.
What health information is needed to enroll my child?
- Insurance or Medicaid card for your child.
- Child’s current shot/vaccination record.
- Other items needed:
- Physical exam—Within the first 90 days of enrollment
- Dental exam—Within the first 90 days of enrollment.
- Lead and hemoglobin tests.
- Individualized Care Plan (ICP) for children based on medical needs (e.g., asthma action plan), if applicable.
- Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Plan (IEP), if applicable.
Your Support Team
- Health & Nutrition
- Mental Health & Disabilities
- Family & Community Engagement
- Fiscal Management
- Organizational Development
Education coordinator/coaches offer support and oversight for Education Services. They coach teachers and home visitors to provide engaging learning environments, play-based experiences, and effective interactions with young children. They also coordinate developmental screenings, observation-based assessment, analysis of child outcomes data, family style dining, continuity of care for infants and toddlers, and parents.
Our enrollment team is committed to serving children and families most in need and building relationships with partnering agencies.
Our health services staff collaborate with the health care community to provide a coordinated approach to health care access and services.
We engage families in partnerships that support the health growth and development of children, parents and the community. This begins with developing relationships and focusing on goals families create with program staff and engaged community partners.
Our fiscal team ensures that federal and state funds are spent wisely. The team supports contract execution, accounts receivable and accounts payable.
The Organizational Development team collaborates the provider network in a coordinated effort to mitigate risks, coordinate strategic planning and develop innovative practices.