Early Head Start Home-Based Option
Last updated: 2016
Early Head Start 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:
- High quality services;
- Activities that promote healthy development and identify atypical development at the earliest stage possible;
- Positive relationships and continuity, with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s first and most important relationship;
- Activities that offer parents a meaningful and strategic role in the program’s vision, services, and governance;
- Inclusion strategies that respect the unique developmental trajectories of young children in the context of a typical setting, including children with disabilities;
- Cultural competence that acknowledges the profound role culture plays in early development;
- Comprehensiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness of services that allow children and families to move across various program options over time as their life situation demands;
- Transition planning; and
- Collaboration with community partnerships that allow programs to expand their services.
The Early Head Start program includes home- or center-based services, a combination of home- and center-based services, 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). The information in this profile describes the Early Head Start Home-Based Option unless specified otherwise.
Early Head Start Home-Based Option services include a minimum of (1) weekly 90-minute home visits and (2) two group socialization activities per month for parents and their children.
The Early Head Start Home-Based Option serves low-income pregnant women and families with children younger than age 3. To be eligible for services, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start 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 program is allowed to develop specific program eligibility criteria, aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards.