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Head Start is a national program within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families.
The Federal Office of Head Start provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. In FY 1995, the Early Head Start program was established to serve pregnant women and children from birth to three years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to children's growth and development.
South Dakota has 16 Head Start grantees providing services in every county in the state and 9 Early Head Start grantees providing services in various locations.
A Comprehensive Child Development Program
Head Start is a comprehensive program that provides educational, nutritional, health and social services to preschool children from low-income families. The program strengthens relationships within the family by encouraging parent involvement in all aspects of the program. Parents have a key role in Head Start because the program is based on the concept that parents are the primary educators of their children.
Head Start is designed to meet each child's individual needs by providing a self-paced approach to education. It also aims to meet the needs of the community served and its ethnic and cultural characteristics. Various program options; center based, home based, combination center/ home based, and school cooperative programs are available to families according to program resources and community needs.
Comprehensive and integrated services are structured under 3 major areas: Early Childhood Development and Health Services, Family and Community Partnerships, and Program Design and Management.
Early Childhood Development and Health Services:
Education - Children take part in a variety of learning experiences to help them develop socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. They are encouraged to express their feelings, to develop self-confidence, and the ability to get along with others. The educational curriculum is designed around developmental domains targeting school readiness and aligned with the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines.
Health - Head Start’s commitment to wellness embraces a comprehensive vision of health for children. Through collaboration among families, staff, and health professionals, a child’s health and developmental concerns are identified, and children and families are linked to an ongoing source of continuous, accessible care to meet their basic health needs. The program provides an organized health plan that includes vision and hearing screening, oral health services, immunizations, and Well Child Exams. Parents are encouraged to become involved in the health care process for their child.
Nutrition - Head Start’s child nutrition services assist families in meeting each child’s nutrition needs and in establishing good eating habits that nurture health development and promote life-long well-being. Nutritious lunches and snacks are served family style to children attending a Head Start classroom. The nutrition program promotes child wellness by providing services that supplement and complement those of the home and community.
Mental Health - Head Start embraces a vision of mental wellness. The mental health program builds collaborative relationships among children and families, staff, mental health professionals and the larger community, in order to enhance awareness and understanding of mental wellness and the contribution that mental health information and services can make to the wellness of all children and families. Area mental health professionals are also available to the Head Start program to provide training to staff and services to parents and children.
Services to Children with Disabilities – Since 1972, Head Start programs have made available, at a minimum, ten percent of their enrollment opportunities to children with disabilities. The passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires Head Starts to align responsibilities with State Education Agencies (SEA) and Local Education Agencies (LEA). Programs have a responsibility to make available directly or in cooperation with other agencies services in accordance with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for children with disabilities. Services may include professional diagnosis, referral to service providers, and training for parents and staff to assure that the needs of the child are met in every way possible.
Family and Community Partnerships
Family Partnerships – Head Start offers parents opportunities and support for growth, so that they can identify their own strengths, needs and interests, and find their own solutions. Head Start's philosophy is that parents are the primary educators of their children. This concept is enhanced through parent education and program planning and by encouraging parents to participate in making policy decisions, assisting in program classrooms, or other activities which increase self-confidence and family involvement.
Community Partnership - Head Start serves families within the context of the community, and recognizes that many other agencies and groups work with the same families. Information about local agencies is provided to each family. Staff collaborates with and refers to other community agencies for assistance with education, employment, and literacy, medical, psychological, disability services and other family needs.
Program Design and Management
Head Start grantees have an established policy group composed of parents and other community representatives who are empowered to actively participate in the shared decision-making process with a well functioning governing body. Together they share the responsibility for overseeing the delivery of high quality services to children and families in accordance with Head Start federally legislated regulations and policies. Dynamic and cohesive management systems support continuous improvement and foster commitment to providing the highest level of services.
Head Start is an equal opportunity program. Participation in the program and its activities is without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Of the total program enrollment, 90% must be children of families who meet federally regulated income guidelines determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. 10% of program enrollment may be above these Federal income guidelines and 10% of enrollment must include children with identified disabilities. In addition residency within the Head Start program geographical service area is generally required. There is no fee for Head Start services. Parents are however, expected to be active participants in the Head Start program and services for their child.
Families with infants and toddlers ages 0-3 and pregnant women who meet federally regulated income guidelines are eligible to participate in Early Head Start. Children must be three or four years old by September 1 to be eligible for Head Start Program services. Parents or guardians are required to verify the family’s income and the child’s date of birth when applying for enrollment in a Head Start/Early Head Start Program.
In South Dakota, management, monitoring and technical assistance for many of the Head Start grantees originate from the ACF Region VIII headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Regional offices work with local programs on a day to day basis. Funding, flows from the Federal level to Regional offices and then to local communities. Unlike some federal programs, there is no state agency through which the funding flows. All American Indian program grants are funded through Region Office XI, the American Indian/Alaskan Native Programs (AI/AN) branch, in Washington DC. Responsibility for American Indian Head Start programs, whose grantees are primarily federally recognized Indian tribes rests with this regional office.
Local communities participate in planning Head Start/Early Head Start programs that meet the needs of families unique to their area and are expected to match federal funding with 20% of local resources. All programs; however, must adhere to the same basic philosophical principles and are required to adhere to federal program guidelines and performance standards.
Badlands Head Start
101 5th Ave., Belle Fourche, SD 57717
P: 605-723-8837 or 800-598-5859, F: 605-723-8834
Cheyenne River Head Start
PO Box 590, Eagle Butte, SD 57625
P: 605-964-8710, F: 605-964-8705
Interlakes Community Action Head Start
PO Box 268, Madison, SD 57042
P: 605-256-6518, F: 605-256-2238
Lower Brule - Sioux Tribe Head Start
PO Box 804, Lower Brule, SD 57548
P: 605-473-5520, F: 605-473-5879
Northeast South Dakota Head Start
202 South Main – Suite 617, Aberdeen, SD 57401
P: 605-229-4506, F: 605-226-0196
Oahe Child Development Center Head Start/Early Head Start
PO Box 907, 2307 E Capital Pierre, SD 57501
P: 605-224-6603, F: 605-224-0850
Oglala Lakota College - Head Start/Early Head Start
PO Box 490, 490 Piya Wiconi Road, Kyle SD 57752
P: 605-455-6000, F: 605-455-6116
Rosebud Sioux Tribe - Head Start Program
PO Box 269, Mission, SD 57555
P: 605-747-2391, F: 605-747-2590
Rural America Initiatives - Dakota Site - Crow Creek
PO Box 350, Fort Thompson, SD 57339-0078
P: 605-245-2185, F: 605-245-2782
Rural America Initiatives - Lakota Site - Rapid City
919 Main Street, Suite 201, Rapid City SD 57701
P: 605-341-3339, F: 605-341-2314
Sioux Falls Head Start
1101 N Western, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
P: 605-367-7950, F: 605-367-4364
Sisseton Wahpeton Head Start
PO Box 749, Agency Village, SD 57262
P: 605-698-3103, F: 605-698-4238
South Central Child Development - Head Start
401 Walnut St SW, Wagner, SD 57380
P: 605-384-3683 or 1-877-384-3683, F: 605-384-5696
University of SD - Pre Birth to Five
414 East Clark, 326 Julian Hall, Vermillion, SD 57069
P: 605-677-5235 or 1-800-813-8132, F: 605-677-6597
Yankton Sioux Tribe - Head Start
PO Box 248, Marty SD 57361
P: 605-384-3423, F: 605-384-3940
Youth and Family Services - Full Day/Full Year Infant to Five Head Start
PO Box 2813, Rapid City, SD 57709
P: 605-342-4233, F: 605-341-7216
Youth and Family Services - Rapid City Prenatal to Five Head Start PO Box 2813, Rapid City, SD 57709
P: 605-341-6448, F: 605-341-2941
Youth and Family Services- Rural Prenatal to Five Head Start PO Box 2813, 1920 Plaza Drive, Rapid City 57709
P: 605-342-4195, F: 605-342-0693
If you have questions, please contact Rayne Dosch, Head Start State Collaboration Director, 605-773-4640.