Implementing Early Head Start–Home-Based Option (EHS-HBO) Meets HHS Criteria

Last updated: April 2018

Model Overview

Implementation Support

The Early Head Start-Home-Based Option is administered by the Office of Head Start in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACF regional offices oversee the administration of ACF programs, including the Early Head Start-Home-Based Option. The regional offices guide the programmatic and financial management of the Early Head Start-Home-Based Option in their jurisdictions and provide assistance, resources, and information to the various entities responsible for administering these programs.

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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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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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Targeted Outcomes

The Early Head Start-Home-Based Option aims to (1) promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, (2) enhance the development of very young children, and (3) promote healthy family functioning.

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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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Model Intensity and Length

Early Head Start-Home-Based Option programs provide one home visit per week per family (with a minimum of 46 home visits per year) lasting for a minimum of 90 minutes each. They also provide a minimum of 2 group socialization activities per month for each family (with a minimum of 22 group socialization activities each year).

Early Head Start-Home-Based Option services are provided to eligible pregnant women and families with children from birth to 3 years of age.

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Early Head Start-Home-Based Option programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Adaptations and Enhancements

No information is available.

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Implementation Notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in April 2018. Recommended Further Reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Office of Head Start on January 16, 2018. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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