Early Head Start–Home-Based Option (EHS-HBO)
Last updated: July 2016
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:
- 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 that 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 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.
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.