Engage them!

By: Kent Mitchell, Director of State Affairs at NHSA

OR Gov. Kate Brown (D)

It wasn’t just a stroke of good luck when Governor Kate Brown of Oregon recently approved a state budget that includes $26 million for Early Head Start. It was the result of years of high-quality service delivery from Oregon Head Start and Early Head Start programs, awareness building, advocacy, and partnership work by the Oregon Head Start Association.

Although Head Start and Early Head Start are largely fueled by federal funding and regulations, governors are key to supporting program success or impeding progress. On a bipartisan basis, they have a growing…


The National Head Start Association (NHSA) supports Head Start and Early Head Start programs’ efforts to provide comprehensive services including health, nutrition, housing, school readiness for children, and job training for their parents and caregivers. Over the past year, in the face of COVID-19, economic destabilization, and a reckoning with systemic and historic racism, Head Start’s stabilizing services have been more important than ever. As we look ahead, more challenges will emerge, and Head Start will continue to be there for children and families.

NHSA’s 2021–22 Policy Agenda serves as a guiding document and an overview of the Head Start…


This Black History Month, NHSA has been reflecting on the deeply intertwined roots of Head Start and the Civil Rights Movement, sharing the stories of early Head Start leaders who persevered to keep the program running despite opposition to its integrated, progressive goals. Now, as the month nears its end, we look towards the future and acknowledge the Black voices making history as Head Start champions today. From members of Congress to the new Office of Head Start Director, Head Start allies and alumni carry on the program’s Civil Rights legacy.

The new Congress is the most diverse in American…


The Child Development Group of Mississippi, Head Start, 1965. Photographer: Bob Fletcher

Head Start was born out of the Civil Rights movement and the ties between Head Start and the Civil Rights Movement are perhaps most explicit in 1960s Mississippi. NHSA began this Black History Month with an exploration of the Child Development Group of Mississippi’s (CDGM) inaugural year, one full of obstacles but also strong Black leaders who persevered to bring Head Start to life.

As one CDGM teacher, Gaynette Flowers, wrote in 1966, “There was no way out before CDGM. For the children, CDGM has opened children’s minds and lifted the oppression of segregation from them. …


The Child Development Group of Mississippi, Head Start, 1965. Photographer: Bob Fletcher

Often when we think about Head Start’s early history, we recall the White House Rose Garden Ceremony on May 18, 1965 in which President Johnson announced Project Head Start. But this was only the beginning. Following that historic day, it took the work of determined community leaders, many of them Civil Rights advocates ready to challenge the status quo, to build Head Start into the life-changing force we know. This was no easy feat. Launching an integrated, anti-poverty program at the peak of the Modern Civil Rights Movement was met with resistance in some communities, and we owe the leaders…


By Rebecca Scheurer and John E. Menditto on December 15, 2020

This article was originally published by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Resilience Center on December 15, 2020 and is reprinted with permission. The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) will reach One Billion People with resilience solutions to climate change, migration, and human security challenges by 2030. We focus our efforts on people, communities, governments, and institutions to help them better prepare for, navigate, and recover from the multiple shocks and stressors people all over the world face every day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected migrant farmworker communities across the…


The impact of COVID-19 in 2020 was felt by all children in the U.S., but took a particular toll on families living in poverty and children of color. From Day 1 of the pandemic, Head Start and Early Head Start stepped up, leading boldly to address growing food insecurity, innovating to support families at a distance, reopening programs with fidelity to CDC and state and local health guidelines, and working day-in-day-out to mitigate against childhood trauma.

COVID-19 continues to take a devastating health toll, even as vaccine relief is on the horizon. And we know that the economic ripple effects…


Not Even 2020 Could Slow Down Head Start

What a year. We learned that a global pandemic couldn’t slow the Head Start community down, we added our voice to a renewed call for racial justice, we remained united in our commitment to children and families through a divisive election season, and so much more. At NHSA, we missed connecting with you in person, but through the work we accomplished together, we felt the embrace of the Head Start family as strongly as ever.

As we look forward to brighter days ahead, we take a moment to reflect on all that happened in 2020. …


Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of nearly 1,600 Head Start and Early Head Start programs faithfully delivering high-quality, science-based early childhood education and family support services even in the face of COVID-19, I write to express concern that the next round of federal COVID-19 supplemental funding appears to exclude critical resources for Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In no uncertain terms, this will have a chilling effect on the ability of programs to meet the basic needs of children — nutrition, critical health screenings and assessments, early learning…

National Head Start Association

NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.

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