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Head Start of Greater Dallas serves more than 4,400 low-income, preschool age children, and their families at 46 center locations throughout Dallas County. Of these centers, three are Early Head Start Centers and one is a home-based Early Head Start Center that serves infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers.
The Centers operate from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Head Start makes an immense contribution to the local community: since 1968, more than 91,000 children have entered school ready to achieve academic success and thousands of families have become self-reliant. Head Start of Greater Dallas receives approximately $34 million from the federal government to manage the Head Start program within Dallas County. Federal regulations require Head Start of Greater Dallas to match 20 percent of this amount, approximately $9 million, from donations and other support from the local community.
The comprehensive Head Start program provides a rich learning environment designed to address the child’s nutritional and health needs while stimulating rapid growth in physical coordination, self-esteem, pre-reading skills and math and science. Children have access to computers and become adept at utilizing them as learning tools.
Head Start also addresses the needs of the child’s family, encourages parents to become involved in their child’s education and helps them achieve self-reliance. Social services staff enroll parents in GED, literacy and English-as-a-Second-Language classes, refer them to a wide variety of social services providers, place them in job training programs or community colleges and provide substance abuse prevention education and referrals.
All services to children and families are provided at no cost. Families qualify by meeting the federal poverty guidelines. For example, a family of four must demonstrate that their annual income is less than $23,050.
Head Start serves a diverse population. Hispanic children comprise 55% of the total, while African-American children comprise 39%, Anglos 2%, Asian-Americans 1%, and other approximately 3%. Most Head Start parents are single and more than 70 percent work.
More than 8,000 people volunteer; the majority of these are the children’s parents.