Early Head Start: An Essential Support for Pregnant Women, Infants, and Toddlers

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Created more than 25 years ago, Early Head Start’s comprehensive approach is proven to support what all babies need to thrive: good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences.

Early Head Start is the only federal program dedicated to comprehensively promoting healthy child and family development for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers living in families with incomes below the poverty line. This focus acknowledges both the importance of the first three years in establishing the foundation for future development and the greater likelihood that young children in under-resourced families will fall behind, starting in infancy.

This brief outlines the history of the program, the research demonstrating how Early Head Start improves outcomes for children and families, and policy recommendations.

  • Author

    Patricia A. Cole

    Senior Director of Federal Policy

  • Author

    Mollyrose Schaffner

    Policy Analyst