Why Head Start

It’s all about the children!

Region 9 Head Start Association provides assistance to Head Start programs in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Region to ensure their ongoing viability and vitality. Operating a high impact, community-driven Head Start program has become more complicated, more challenging—and more necessary than ever. Region 9 provides programs and services that assist members:

  • Meet and exceed Head Start Program Performance Standards;
  • Provide high quality, innovative, and community-based comprehensive services;
  • Gain access to professional development and training; and
  • Network with other Head Start program leaders, teachers, advocates and parents.

The Region 9 Association also lends additional power to Head Start’s voice and advocacy to government officials, stakeholders and the public, as well as collaborating with other state Head Start Associations, the National Head Start Association, the National Migrant and Tribal Head Start Association, the National Indian Head Start Directors Association and the Office of Head Start.

Region 9 Head Start currently serves more than 130,000 children and their families and encompasses the largest geographical area of any regional association.

Head Start Advantage

Funded by the United States Congress and administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, Head Start is the national commitment to give every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

Head Start is a comprehensive early education program for children birth to age 5 from at-risk backgrounds. From early math and reading skills to confidence and resilience, Head Start helps children build the abilities they need to be successful in school and life.

Each Head Start program engages parents as equal partners with their child’s teacher and works closely with the local community to adapt to what each area needs. Programs also support parents with job training opportunities and share ways to create encouraging home environments and enhance relationships with their children.

Since its founding in 1965 during President Johnson’s Great Society movement, more than 35 million children have benefited from Head Start programs.

Research demonstrates that Head Start programs create short- and long-term benefits for children and their families. It is praised by education leaders for preparing low-income children to enter kindergarten educationally, physically and socially on par with their peers.

And it’s praised by business leaders for freeing low-income parents to be able to work. The Head Start advantage is recognized by leading economic and education experts across the country.

Head Start Alums

We all know how impressionable kids are. Early positive and fun experiences are cherished for a lifetime. That’s why from all across the country, educators, doctors, lawyers, military personnel, artists, engineers, religious and civic leaders, and scientists—and even members of Congress—remember Head Start as the place where, at an early age, they acquired a life-long love of learning.

The first Latina CEO of Girl Scouts of the United States of America is Anna Maria Chavez, who was born into a family of migrant workers and attended Head Start in Eloy, Arizona.

Then there is Shaquille O’Neal, the former professional basketball player and current television sports analyst. O’Neal was a student at a Head Start program in Newark, New Jersey.

Darren Walker, President of The Ford Foundation—the second largest philanthropic organization in the world—was also a Head Start student in what was one of the first programs in rural Texas. In 2014, he told People magazine the program provided him with “a window into a world beyond my immediate circumstances.”

You can read about a few more Head Start alums and their successes here.

Click here for National and State by State Head Start Facts.

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.
  • Provide resources to assist our members in compliance and professional development.

Contact Us

2131 Capitol Avenue, Suite 307
Sacramento, CA 95816



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

Region 9 Head Start

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