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Child Care

Head start for 3 & 4 year olds

Head Start | NYC Department of Education

1. How it Works

Head Start programs provide safe and positive environments for children to learn, play, and build the skills that get them ready for kindergarten and beyond. Families can get services year round for at least eight hours a day.

  • Your child can begin a program at any time of the year if you qualify and there are open seats.
  • Head Start programs are available in centers.
  • Eligibility is based on your family’s income, housing situation, and/or receipt of HRA cash assistance or SSI.
  • Limited space is also available in Early Head Start programs, which serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers.
  • Children in Head Start programs get nutritious meals and health screenings.
  • Family support services, such as health services, are available as needed.

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.

With a few questions, we can help you find out if you may be eligible.

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

Am I Eligible?

3. What you need to include

It’s important to include the right documents when you apply. Your documents show whether the program is right for you.

This page can help you choose the right documents for your application.

If you are receiving Cash Assistance, you are automatically eligible for Head Start.

Proof of who you are

For each person applying, any one document:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal or other religious certificate
  • Official hospital or birth records
  • Adoption records
  • Naturalization certificate

Proof of where you live

Proof of your income

Next section:

4. How to Apply

4. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply in person

Fina a program near you to apply

  1. Use MySchools to find programs for three-year-olds.
  2. Choose the “EarlyLearn” filter in the drop-down menu,
  3. Type in your home address to find programs near you.

Find a program

Come back to it later.
We can send you a link to this page to help you get back to it when you’re ready.

More ways to get help with this program

Visit the website

Visit the Head Start website for more information.

Call 311

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

Last Updated Thursday, March 11th, 10:44am

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