Impact on Children, Families & Communities

How do you measure the success of a human being—let alone the success of a child?

All across the nation, Head Start programs annually assess how children and their families are coping. Head Start children are also checked years later to see the impact of their Head Start participation.

The need for Head Start is based on the premise that all children share certain needs, and that children from low-income families, in particular, can benefit from a comprehensive developmental program to meet those needs. As a family-oriented, comprehensive, and community-based program, Head Start addresses developmental goals for children, supports parents in their work and child-rearing roles, and links them all with other service delivery systems.

We know the services which are delivered. Here is a snapshot from various sources about studies and research across the United States on the impact of those services:

  • Children completing Early Head Start achieved gains on standardized tests of cognitive and language development, may need fewer special learning interventions later on, and performed better on critical social-emotional tasks, such as relating to their parents, paying attention and behaving appropriately, according to a seven-year DHS evaluation.
  • Four- and five-year-olds participating were found to gain benefits that lasted through fifth grade, according to Duke University research.
  • University of Chicago found that Head Start reduced child mortality in elementary years, apparently because of screening and treatment referrals.
  • Business leaders argue that the benefits are not just long-term, but immediate — that preschool creates jobs, leaves low-income parents free to work and reduces the number of children in high-priced special education programs and those having to repeat grades.
  • Head Start graduates were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their peers, according to a UCLA study
  • Harvard research also found children who attended Head Start were more likely to graduate from high school and less likely as young adults to be “idle”—out of a job and out of school.

The Heckman Equation

Nobel laureate economist Dr. James J. Heckman has studied much of the research on early childhood education and from that has formulated what is called the Heckman Equation. It goes like this:

  • Invest in educational and developmental resources for disadvantaged families to provide equal access to successful early human development, and
  • Nurture early development of cognitive and social skills in children from birth to age five, and
  • Sustain early development with effective education through to adulthood: Results in a gain of a more capable, productive and valuable workforce that pays dividends to America for generations to come.

Our Success Stories

Professional studies do make the case for Head Start. Our Region 9 Head Start alumni who are now adults tell personal and compelling stories of the impact of the Head Start advantage, too. Read their success stories here

 

“Head Start has significant beneficial short-term effects, strong long-term effects and deserves government investment.”

—Dr. James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate from Early Childhood Education:
Making Sense of All the Research

The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.


The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.

Contact Us

1225 8th Street, Suite 342
Sacramento, CA 95814

916-259-0971
headstartr9@region9hsa.org

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Connect with a Region 9 State Association
Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada

Region 9 Head Start

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