Information About Head Start & Early Head Start Services

Head Start is our nation’s leading investment in early childhood care and education. Head Start provides a range of comprehensive education, health, nutrition, parent involvement and family support services and has primarily served at-risk children and their families since 1965. The primary goal of Head Start is to promote the school readiness of low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.

Head Start actually consists of two programs: Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS).

HS is a comprehensive early childhood development program primarily serving at-risk preschool-age children and their families.

EHS is a comprehensive early childhood program serving primarily at-risk children prenatal to age three, pregnant women and their families.

HS and EHS programs serve children in families earning income at or below the federal poverty level, which for a family of four in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia is $23,550 during 2011.

Educational Benefits: By the spring of their kindergarten year, HS graduates’ reading assessment scores reached national norms and their general knowledge assessment scores were close to national norms.

Economic Benefits: Society receives nearly $9 in benefits for every $1 invested in children. These benefits include increased earnings, employment, and family stability, and decreased welfare dependency, crime costs, grade repetition and special education.

Health Benefits: The mortality rates for 5- to 9-year-old children who attend Head Start are 33 to 50 percent lower than the rates for comparable children who are not enrolled in Head Start. Parents who participate in HS are found to have greater quality of life satisfaction, increased confidence in coping skills and decreased feelings of anxiety, depression and sickness.

Law Enforcement Benefits: HS children are significantly less likely to have been charged with a crime than their siblings who did not participate in HS.

Download the complete report and references

Catholic Charities offers a wide range of human services and our HS/EHS programs integrate with many of them, enabling us to leverage existing resources to support our HS/EHS families. Our Head Start consultation service offers behavioral consultation and mental health referral services to children and families participating in Head Start locations in Baltimore City, Baltimore, Harford and Carroll Counties.

These programs also work closely with our HS/EHS programs:

• Mental Health Consultation/Counseling
• Food Services
• Health Services
• Schools
• Psychiatric Rehabilitation/ Behavior Support
• Workforce Development
• Anna’s House
• Esperanza Center
• Community Partnerships

Mental Health Services

Behavioral health is multi-dimensional and affects all aspects of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. All of our Head Start and Early Head Start programs have mental health professionals on staff who provide a regular schedule of on-site observation, consultation and education to support healthy family growth and development.

Head Start Mental Health Consultation

Provides behavioral consultation and mental health referral and treatment services to children and families participating in Head Start and Early Head Start in Baltimore City, Harford, or Carroll County.

Eligibility: Enrollment in participating Head Start or Early Head Start Program.

Special Education Services

Our Head Start and Early Head Start Programs work collaboratively with parents to secure services from local education agency (LEA) Special Education staff, local community resources, professionals, and program staff. Enrollment opportunities are made available to children with disabilities through active recruitment efforts. The programs meet compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 504 Law.

Individualized Support

Within the first 45 days of enrollment, all Head Start and Early Head Start children undergo a series of screenings to identify any potential difficulties that could affect learning. In the cases where a child is referred for further assessment, teachers and parents are assisted in completing the documentation. Our Disabilities Specialist attends Admission, Review, & Dismissal (ARD) meetings and keeps the management team informed through the case management coordination efforts for the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) service delivery.

Head Start staff is trained to ensure that children with disabilities have their individual needs met. Parents are also offered opportunities to attend training regarding their child’s disability.


Program staff assists the transition into the Head Start program from a local Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) agency, day care or home setting. This assistance continues as the child transitions out of the Head Start program into Kindergarten. One of the greatest benefits to the Head Start/public school partnership model is that parents and children are completely familiar with the system and support.


Community partnerships are an important part of HS/EHS. The community partners of Catholic Charities HS/EHS programs include:

• Infants & Toddlers Programs – Children with Disabilities
• Public Schools
• PNC Bank- Grow Up Great Initiative
• MD Science Center
• Harford County Government
• Carroll County Judy Center
• Community Colleges
• University of MD School of Nursing
• College of Notre Dame School of Pharmacy
• Health Department
• Carroll County Early Childhood Consortium
• Communities Engaged in Advocating for a Smoke Free Environment
• Paul’s Place
• South Baltimore Learning Center
• Growing Smiles Family Dentist
• BCHD Virtual Supermarket
• Good Cause Foundation
• LASOS (Linking All So Others Succeed)

Contact us at:

Baltimore City: Fallstaff: 667-600-3210

Harford County: 667-600-3220

Frederick County: 667-600-3310

Carroll County: 667-600-2850

Washington County: 667-600-2140

Allegany County: 301-777-8685