New Early Head Start Trend Analysis

Mar 28, 2012

By Stephanie Schmit

One in four young children under age 6 lives in a family earning just $60 a day - a dismal statistic demonstrating the real hardship families continue to face in the wake of the recession and persistent high unemployment. Enacted in 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided help for the growing number of poor families by investing much needed funds into programs like Early Head Start, which in 2010 experienced the largest expansion in its history. Early Head Start provides poor children under age 3 and pregnant women with access to a range of services such as health screenings, parenting resources, and social services. Yet, Early Head Start reaches fewer than 4 percent of eligible children.

Based on Head Start Program Information Reports (PIR), CLASP has developed an analysis of data describing the children and families served by Early Head Start (EHS) in 2010, as well as EHS programs and staff that year and trends from 2002 to 2010. Highlights from the 2010 PIR include:

  • Early Head Start had a funded enrollment of 104,533 children and pregnant women, which was an increase of 43,385 from the 2009 enrollment.
  • Most Early Head Start teachers had a degree and nearly half (49 percent) had a bachelor's or higher.
  • Early Head Start promotes better health for young children by connecting children to medical and dental homes and helping them obtain health insurance.
  • Early Head Start provides services through a variety of program options. In the 2010 program year, 49 percent of children were enrolled in center-based Early Head Start services and 45 percent were enrolled in home-based services.
  • Early Head Start continues to support families with working parents, many with limited formal education.

To learn more about Early Head Start in 2010 and how the data has changed over time, read Supporting Our Youngest Children: Early Head Start Programs in 2010.

Also available are factsheets highlighting program year 2010 data on Head Start and Early Head Start and state fact sheets with information on all Head Start programs in a state.

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