The Children’s Center is the grantee for the Western Tidewater Head Start program, which provides family-centered services to low-income families with children ages three to five years old. Head Start promotes the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth of young children as well as supports parents’ roles as primary caregivers and educators.
Head Start promotes school readiness by serving families of economically disadvantaged children with educational, health, nutritional, social and other services. Head Start, a program that began in 1965, engages parents in their children’s learning and assists parents in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals.
Studies of the Head Start programs found that Head Start increases educational achievement:
- Raising test scores
- Decreasing the need for children to receive special education services
- Making it less likely that children will repeat a grad
- Head Start graduates are also more likely to graduate from high school and attend college
This key service of Head Start offers high-quality early education in a childcare setting.
- Offers full-time care
- Each classroom lead teacher has a Child Development Associate degree or higher, plus preschool care experience
- Transportation provided by commercially licensed drivers may be available to and from the Center if needed
- Home visits to develop a strategy for ensuring kindergarten readiness and inform the parents of tranistion requirements and child development.
- Working with parents to ensure that children have access to quality health care, including dental, vision, speech, hearing, nutritional and mental health screenings, physical exams, and immunizations.
- Information and referrals to other community agencies as needed.
- Supporting parents' efforts to meet the challenges of parenting to move toward self-sufficiency.
Parent and community representatives form the Early Head Start/Head Start Policy Council, which develops plans, policies, procedures, and budgets for the program. The Council also contributes to hiring of staff. Early Head Start and Head Start parents comprise at least 51% of the Council.
Referral & Eligibility
To be eligible for Early Head Start or Head Start, you must live in Western Tidewater (Franklin, Southampton County, Suffolk, Smithfield, or Isle of Wight County) and either be a TANF or SSI recipient, have a foster child, or have a total annual family income not exceeding these amounts*:
Size of Family
Add $4,540 for each additional family member
*Some over-income families may be eligible depending on the family circumstances.
Applications will be accepted by appointment only. The application process includes two parts, the first of which must be completed in order for your child to be placed on our Waiting List. The following items are required to complete the application process:
- Birth certificate (birth letter is acceptable for EHS only)
- Proof of residency
- Proof of income or eligibility using one of these: W-2, 1040 tax form, 4 most recent pay stubs, TANF or SSI documentation, unemployment letter, foster child documentation, child support documentation
- Child’s current physical form
- Child’s current immunization records
- Child’s health insurance card
- IEP or IFSP if applicable
- Full name, address, and telephone number of two adults (other than parents of guardians) as emergency contacts
The Children's Center can assist you in gathering these items.
An online application can be accessed by clicking on the link below. Paper applications are available for pickup at all centers. Speak to the administrative assistant at the front desk to obtain an application.