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Early Head Start–Home-Based Option (EHS-HBO)

Meets HHS criteria for an evidenced based model

Model Overview

Last Updated

April 2018

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Theoretical Model

The Early Head Start–Home-Based Option is a comprehensive, two-generation federal initiative aimed at enhancing the development of infants and toddlers while strengthening families. The model is founded on nine principles:

  1. High-quality services;
  2. Activities that promote healthy development and identify atypical development at the earliest stage possible;
  3. Positive relationships and continuity, with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s first, and most important, relationship;
  4. Activities that offer parents a meaningful and strategic role in the program’s vision, services, and governance;
  5. Inclusion strategies that respect the unique developmental trajectories of young children in the context of a typical setting, including children with disabilities;
  6. Cultural competence that acknowledges the profound role that culture plays in early development;
  7. Comprehensiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness of services that allow children and families to move across various program options over time as their life situation demands;
  8. Transition planning; and
  9. Collaboration with community partnerships that allow programs to expand their services.

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Model Components

The Early Head Start model includes home- or center-based services, a combination of home- and center-based programs, and family child care services (services provided in family child care homes). The focus of this report is on the home-based service option. Early Head Start–Home-Based Option services include (1) weekly 90-minute home visits, and (2) two group socialization activities per month for parents and their children.

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Target Population

The Early Head Start–Home-Based Option targets low-income pregnant women and families with children from birth to age 3 years. To be eligible for the Early Head Start–Home-Based Option, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start–Home-Based Option programs must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state. Each individual Early Head Start–Home-Based Option program is allowed to develop specific program eligibility criteria, aligned with the model’s performance standards.

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Where to Find Out More

Administration for Children and Families
Office of Head Start (OHS)
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, SW, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20201
Website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs/ , http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc

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