Launched in 1965, Head Start has proven to be one of the nation's most successful social and educational investments. Reaching far beyond the scope of school readiness, Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and family services to poverty-level children and their families. Local grantees receive federal funding for Head Start (HS), Migrant/Seasonal Head Start (MSHS), and Early Head Start (EHS) programs, the latter serving children from birth to age three and expectant mothers.
Since 1995, the Arizona Head Start Association (AHSA) has provided a forum of empowerment and unification for the coalition of public and private organizations that administer Head Start programs and work to improve the lives of Arizona's children. The influence of AHSA reaches far beyond its membership, creating and contributing to collaborative partnerships across the Early Childhood community and on every level of government. Led by an Executive Director and a volunteer Board of Directors, AHSA integrates service delivery through five standing committees: Early Care and Education, Health & Nutrition, Disabilities & Mental Health, Professional Development, and Family/Community Partnerships. Along with membership dues, funding for AHSA studies, projects and meetings is provided by the Arizona Head Start State Collaboration Office through a grant from the Administration for Children and Families.
Head Start programs in Arizona annually serves nearly 23,000 children and over 21,500 families through a network of 30 community-based non-profit organizations, Indian Tribal Council, local governments, and school districts. All together, Head Start programs provide comprehensive Head Start services at over 500 locations throughout the state.
Arizona Head Start Programs provide high quality early childhood education, nutrition, health, mental health, disabilities, and social services with a strong parent involvement focus.
The Arizona Head Start Association (AHSA) also collaborates with community partners, other non-profit organizations, private child care providers, and State agencies to strengthen the early childhood work force and improve both quality of services and service delivery to children and families.