The federally funded Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS) programs have provided early childhood education opportunities and comprehensive supports for low-income children and families since 1995 and 1965, respectively. This executive summary provides an overview of a report conducted by Child Trends on behalf of the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), which examines the strengths and needs of children and families served by EHS and HS in the District of Columbia.

In alignment with the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS), which require grantees to conduct a community needs assessment every five years, this report will present information about the number of eligible children and families and their demographics, including children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and children with disabilities and developmental delays; the strengths and needs of the eligible population of children and families; and the resources available to these children and families. The report will conclude with considerations for the OSSE—who oversees early childhood programs throughout DC—on approaches for allocating resources to best support the needs of EHS- and HS-eligible families.


Maggie C. Kane, Chrishana M. Lloyd, and Sara Shaw contributed equally to the development of this executive summary.