How much does Head Start cost?

Head Start is free for families who qualify (it is funded by the federal government). We provide $7,000 worth of education, health screening, nutrition, family support, and training services for your family at no cost to you.

How can I qualify?

There are many ways you can qualify for our programs. (You may need to provide proof.) Let us know if you:

  • are a foster parent, a single parent, or a teen parent
  • receive disability, TANF, SSI, or WIC benefits
  • are unemployed
  • care for a child that is not yours
  • had a recent death in the household
  • had a spouse recently deported
  • were in jail or have a spouse in jail
  • have not graduated from high school or college
  • are a parent enrolled in an education or training program
  • are homeless
  • have a disabled child, or have a referral to a pre-school program
  • have a child with chronic health problems or special needs
  • live in a house where there is substance abuse, physical abuse, or mental illness
  • do not have access to a car
  • speak English as your second language
  • have seasonal work
  • are in the military

Are there income requirements?

If none of the above items apply to you, you can also qualify if you earn a low income. Our staff can help you find out if you meet these income requirements. Visit or call one of our centers, and be prepared to tell us how much money everybody in your household earns every month.

What services can I get through Head Start?

  • Individual learning plans for your child
  • Health snacks and meals
  • Family goal setting and support
  • Special services for children with disabilities
  • Prenatal services for pregnant women
  • Developmental screenings
  • Medical and dental support
  • Mental health services
  • Social service referrals and support
  • Parent leadership and learning opportunities
  • Support services for the whole family, including fathers

When can I enroll?

You can enroll in Head Start at any time during the year. It is best to apply during the summer, because you have the best chance of getting into the program then.

How old are children in Head Start?

We serve babies, children up to age 5, pregnant mothers, fathers, and their families.

DHS_stages_3

What are half-day, full-day, and home based services?

In half-day programs, you drop of your child off every weekday for either a morning session or afternoon session.

In full-day programs, you drop your child off every weekday from around 8am to 3pm. (Each center has its own hours, contact the center for more information.) To be in a full-day program, you must be in school or working at a job.

In home-based programs, a well-trained teacher visits your home once per week to lead learning activities.

What is a Child Care Partnership?

A Child Care Partnership is when a Detroit Head Start agency works with a child care center in their neighborhood to provide Early Head Start programs. These classrooms have the same requirements for teachers, curriculum and safety. They also have longer hours since the classrooms are located within a child care center!

What are my options if I’m on a waitlist of a center-based seat for my child?

Early Head Start and Head Start agencies operate under year-round enrollment. Whenever a spot opens up, they will contact waitlist parents to fill seats.

There are some other options for you to consider while you wait for a spot.

  • Ask if there’s another agency provider who covers your zip code. You can also double-check the locator tool on this site to see for yourself.
  • If your child is under age 3, ask about the home-based program. In this program, a well-trained teacher will provide one-on-one support to your little one and you each week. There are also  classes for families where they can come to socialize with other families and kids. Read Renee’s story to find out more about home-based programs.
  • If your child is under age 3, inquire about Child Care Partnership options. Read Ameera’s story to find out more about Early Head Start programs in this setting.
      • Contact The Order of the Fisherman at 313-933-0300 if you live in 48201, 48202, 48204, 48213, 48214, 48223, 48228, 48235 or 48238.
      • Contact New St. Paul Tabernacle Head Start at 313-835-4400 if you live in 48204, 48221, 48223, 48227, 48228, 48235, 48238 or 48239.
      • Contact Matrix Head Start at 313-308-8030 if you live in 48201, 48202, 48203, 48204, 48205, 48207, 48208, 48209, 48210, 48211, 48212, 48213, 48214, 48215, 48216, 48221, 48223, 48224, 48226, 48227, 48228, 48234, 48235, 48236 (only Detroit), 48238 and 48239.
  • If you have a 4-year-old, explore options with Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), a state-funded preschool to prepare children for kindergarten. To find out if you qualify and locations near you, contact Wayne RESA at 734-334-1479.

Can I go to a center near my work?

Yes, in some cases you may enroll at a center that is near where you work instead of where you live. We use your zip code to determine what location your family attends. Contact us and let us know what zip code you work in!

Can Head Start help if my child has special needs?

Yes! We encourage you to apply if your child has a disability or developmental, social, or emotional delays. We make extra effort to ensure that specials needs are met and that children with disabilities integrate into the classroom smoothly.

What do I need in order to apply?

Head Start is for families who qualify. When you are ready to enroll, start by completing our application form, and then gather certain papers that you will need. Bring these things to your new center to finish the process:

  • Your child’s birth certificate
  • Your child’s immunization records
  • If you work, proof of your income (could be W-2 form, pay stubs, or a statement from your employer)
  • If you attend school, proof of your student status
  • Your driver’s license or ID
  • Your child’s medical insurance information, if available

How long does it take to enroll and get started?

Start by scheduling a visit using our online form. That takes just two minutes!

After you choose the center you like, complete our application form. A staff member will make an appointment within two days to complete the other paperwork with you. This appointment could take an hour, and you may bring children.

After that, our staff will let you know within a few days whether or not you can enroll and get started.

Do I have to volunteer in order to be a part of Head Start?

Yes, families have to participate in the Head Start community. Most parents and guardians have a good experience volunteering because they get to watch their children grow in a supportive classroom. There are a few ways you can help:

  • Help with classroom activities
  • Assist with serving meals
  • Organize special events
  • Help make decisions about Head Start through Policy Councils and Policy Committees

What will my child learn in Head Start?

We believe that children learn best through experiences. Children in Head Start have direct hands-on experiences with language, communication, math, creative arts, science, technology, and social studies. Our teachers help children explore many different types of play and learning inside a safe and clean classroom.

We use the High Scope curriculum. Watch a video about the infant and toddler curriculum. Watch a video about the preschool curriculum for children 3-5.

What are the current requirements to be a Head Start teacher?

Head Start teachers need to have at least one of the following qualifications:

  • A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential that is appropriate to the age of children they teach
  • A certificate from the State of Michigan that meets or exceeds the CDA requirements
  • An associate, bachelor’s or advanced degree in early child education
  • 
An associate degree in a field related to early childhood education with experience teaching preschool-age children
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field and Teach For America admittance, training, and professional development

There are many job opportunities available at Detroit Head Start centers. Contact one of our agencies to find out about current openings.

What are the current requirements to be a Head Start teacher aide/assistant?

Head Start teacher aides/assistants need to have at least one of the following qualifications:

  • A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or be enrolled in a CDA credential program that will be completed within 2 years
  • An associate, bachelor’s or advanced degree (in any area) or be enrolled in a program leading to such a degree

There are many job opportunities available at Detroit Head Start centers. Contact one of our agencies to find out about current openings.

What are the current requirements to be an Early Head Start teacher?

Early Head Start teachers need to have at least one of the following qualifications:

  • A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential for Infant and Toddler Caregivers
  • An equivalent credential that addresses comparable competencies within one year of hire as a teacher of infants and toddlers

There are many job opportunities available at Detroit Head Start centers. Contact one of our agencies to find out about current openings.

Who provides Early Head Start and Head Start in Detroit? What agency would I work for?

Ten agencies operate more than 70 centers across Detroit: Starfish Family Services, Matrix Human Services, Southwest Solutions, Focus: HOPE, Development Centers, United Children and Families, New St. Paul Tabernacle, Children’s Center, Renaissance Head Start and The Order of the Fishermen. These agencies are funded to provide up to 3,778 Head Start and 1,149 Early Head Start seats.

Each provider agency handles its own staffing and will post job opportunities to this site (and others).

What are the current requirements to be a Head Start teacher?

Head Start teachers must have at least one of the following qualifications:

  • A Child Development Associate (CDA) credential that is appropriate to the age of children they teach
  • A certificate from the State of Michigan that meets or exceeds the CDA requirements
  • An associate, bachelor’s or advanced degree in early child education
  • An associate degree in a field related to early childhood education with experience teaching preschool-age children
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field and Teach For America admittance, training, and professional development

Click here for more information on how to obtain these requirements, including which Michigan educational institutions offer these degree programs.

There are many career opportunities available with Detroit Head Start agencies. Visit our career opportunities page to see current openings.