In the following pages will be discussing the Head Start program and the facilities around the area, the Florida Parishes. Head Start is a non-profit organization that helps pregnant woman and children ages 0 to age 5. Pregnant women and children 0 to age 3 are served through the Early Head Start Program. Children ages 3 to 5 years are served through Head Start. The programs are unique because they not only serve the children, but as well, they serve their families. The children are provided comprehensive services: health, education, mental health, and disability services, if they are needed. The program serves families by providing them with support, encouragement, parenting, and referrals to other agencies. It is much more than average daycare, that you would see. In recent years, although Head Start has been funded by our politicians, it does not typically get an increase in founding. Due to the increase in the cost to run the programs, Head Starts are being cut and having to make tough decision. Although the poverty rate is increasing, not as many children are being served. Jobs have also been cut in the programs, to lack of children now being served, due to these circumstances. Head Start services are needed and funding needs to be increased where children and their families can continue to get the full benefits that they need. Also, so these two programs can fully give what they were made out to do, for the reasons when they were started.
Keywords: Health benefits, childcare, children, education, family, funding.
Nationally, Head Start was established in 1965 by the Lyndon B Johnson administration. Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, began trying to find a way to stop juvenile delinquency in the early 1960’s. It was decided by experts that poverty was the cause. When Head Start first started, it begins as an 8 week summer program that was ran by volunteers. The plan was to serve a few thousand across the United States, 561,000 showed up. Within a few years, it grew to 9 month, ½ day services (Head Start History, 2011). Head Starts are funded through grants that are awarded by the Office of Head Start. Today there are approximately 1600 local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies that provide Head start services throughout the United States and territories (Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center, 2011) Some programs today operate full day programs. Head Start was started to try to give equality of education to those growing up in poverty. The program started to promote school readiness for children, ages three to five, in low-income families. They offer educational, nutritional, health, social and other services. The program enhances the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, nutritional,