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Child Care

Care and education for 3-4 year-olds from low-income families

Head Start | NYC Department of Education (DOE)

1. How it Works

Head Start programs provide safe and positive environments for children age 3-4 to learn, play, and build the skills that get them ready for kindergarten and beyond. Programs also provide health, nutrition, and other services to children and their families.

  • Your child can begin a Head Start program at any time of the year if you qualify and there are open seats. Programs:
    • are free and run year-round for at least eight hours a day.
    • provide nutritious meals and health screenings for children.
  • Head Start programs also help parents and families achieve their own goals, including employment, housing, adult education, and accessing health services.
  • Limited space is also available in Early Head Start programs, which serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers.
  • Head Start programs are located in centers run by community organizations and non-profits.
  • Eligibility is based on your family’s income, housing situation, and/or receipt of HRA cash assistance or SSI.

2. Determine your eligibility

Your family may qualify for Head Start if at least of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You’re enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Head Start is to contact a program directly.

Take a short survey to see if you might be eligible for this or 30 other programs.

Am I Eligible?

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3. How to Apply

3. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply in person

To apply for Head Start, you will need to contact a program near you.

To find a 3-K – Head Start program near you:

  1. Go to MySchools.
  2. Click “More Filters”. Select the “Head Start” checkbox under “Year-Round 3-K Programs”.
  3. Type in your home address to search for a program.

To find a Pre-K – Head Start program near you:

  1. Go to MySchools.
  2. Click “More Filters”. Select the “Head Start” checkbox under “Year Round Programs”.
  3. Type in your home address to search for a program.

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More ways to get help with this program

Visit the website

Learn more about Head Start from NYCDOE.

Call 311

Ask for “Head Start” if you need help finding a program.

Last Updated Thursday, August 4th, 10:04am

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