State Head Start Supplement

Last updated May 19, 2020

The State Head Start Supplement grant provides additional funding to federal Head Start programs in Connecticut. Only federally-funded Head Start programs are eligible to apply for this grant.

What is Head Start?

Head Start is a national program that prepares vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. It provides early learning, health, and family well-being services to children and families while engaging parents as partners.

Head Start services are delivered nationwide through 1,600 agencies which tailor the federal program to the local needs of children and families. Head Start includes:

  • Preschool programs that serve children ages 3 and 4 
  • Early Head Start programs for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women

Find out more about the national Head Start program

What does the State Head Start Supplement grant pay for?

Every 2 years, OEC gives awards grants to all 21 federally-funded Head Start preschool programs in CT. The next request for proposals will be in the spring of 2021.

These programs provide services through 45 early care and education sites, and the state grants support one or both of the following:

  • Expanded services 
  • Innovative enhancement

Each grant is for 2 years.

Expanded services

This type of funding is used to increase the number of children served beyond the federally-funded Head Start level in 16 specific communities. In fiscal year 2018, the State Head Start Supplement created 267 additional Head Start spaces at federally-funded Head Start programs in CT.

Innovative enhancement

Programs can apply for the State Head Start Supplement funding to:

  • Extend the day to 6 to 10 hours (from the federally funded 3.5 hours a day)
  • Add a 5 to 8 week summer program
  • Offer quality improvement activities to help close the learning and achievement gap in CT

Programs must use the Head Start community needs assessment to propose activities that are tailored to meet the needs of local children. 

Examples of innovative enhancement

  • Collaborating with homeless shelters to recruit families with children ages 0 to 5 years old
  • Augmenting science and math centers through nature-based play materials to support creativity, exploration, and problem solving
  • Enhancing dual language and literacy in an environment that’s socially and emotionally supportive
  • Collaborating with communities to support family engagement to improve child and family well-being
  • Accessing professional services to meet the needs of children who have experienced trauma