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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.
    • Your child can get nutritious meals and health screenings.
  • Head Start programs also help parents and families achieve their own goals. These include 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 if you get HRA cash assistance or SSI.

2. Determine your eligibility

Your family may qualify for Head Start if one or more of these apply to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SNAP
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • You’re enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below the amounts below:
Household size Yearly income
2 $20,440
3 $25,820
4 $31,200
5 $36,580
6 $41,960
7 $47,340
8 $52,720
Each Additional Person $5,380

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 find and apply to a Head Start program:

  1. Go to MySchools (3-k) or MySchools (Pre-K).
  2. Click “More Filters”. Select the “Head Start” checkbox under “Year-Round 3-K / Pre-K Programs”.
  3. Type in your home address to search for a program.
  4. Contact a program that you’re interested in.

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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 February 16, 2024

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