Florida Head Start: What You Need To Know

While Head Start and Early Head Start programs are found throughout the United States, how can you find the right program for you and your family in Florida?

There are numerous Head Start programs available in Florida for children and mothers whose household falls under the federal poverty line. By enrolling in a Head Start program you’re ensuring your child is prepared for school and improving their diverse learning skills.

In Florida, there are more individuals who can qualify for Head Start programs no matter their income level. Learn more about Florida’s Head Start program qualifications in 2022, the educational curriculum, and how you can apply.

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What Does Head Start Do?

Head Start includes Early Head Start and Head Start. Early Head Start programs are structured for pregnant mothers, newborns, and toddlers under the age of three years old from low-income families. These programs center on building a nourishing bond between children and parents while also promoting healthy development.

Meanwhile, Head Start programs are intended for children up to the of five and aims to develop their emotional, social, and cognitive learning skills. Head Start’s positive learning environment will ensure that your child is fully prepared for their upcoming education. This includes teaching literacy, language, and social development.

Not only does Head Start provide early education programs, but they also offer health screening, nutrition services, social services, and the distinctive services needed for kids with varying disabilities.

Qualifications for Head Start in Florida

While you are searching for Head Start programs in Florida, they do utilize federal Poverty Guidelines to decide who is eligible for Head Start programs. The following list entails the required maximum income (before taxes) depending on how many people are in a single household:

  • 1: $13,590
  • 2: $18,310
  • 3: $23,030
  • 4: $27,750
  • 5: $32,470
  • 6: $37,190
  • 7: $41,910
  • 8: $46,630

If you have more than eight people in one household, then add $4,720 for every additional person to the previous income.

However, there are other factors that can make your family eligible even if you have a higher income. For example, children who are homeless, in foster care, or are from families receiving public benefits can enroll in Head Start programs no matter their income.

Even if your income is higher than the federal poverty line and you don’t identify with any of the previously stated factors, then reach out to your local Head Start or Early Head Start facility to see if you qualify. You can find a Head Start program near you by using this search tool.

Migrants in Florida: Are You Eligible?

There are plenty of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start and Early Head Start programs available. This program is beneficial for migrant families who move often due to agricultural work in varying geographic locations. 

Meanwhile, families whose main source of income is from seasonal agricultural work and who haven’t moved in over two years are also welcome to enroll in Head Start programs in Florida. Migrant Head Start programs provide an altered versions of the original Head Start program to fulfill the individual needs of migrant and seasonal worker families. 

This unique program also ensures that all children under five, including newborns, are cared for in order to ensure they won’t have to be kept in the fields or in the care of too young siblings while parents or adults are working. The previous search tool provided will also show nearby Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs available.

How Head Start Supports Florida Families

As of 2020, there were 35,942 children enrolled in Head Start programs in Florida. Also, 10,840 Florida mothers and toddlers received assistance from Early Head Start programs. As for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs in Florida, nearly 2,733 working families were enrolled.

With these numbers, Head Start confirmed that 45,529 Florida families were utilizing their education and health services. Out of this number, 31,181 of these Florida families were from a single-parent household. Altogether, Florida offered 126 different Head Start programs throughout the state.

Meanwhile, Head Start provided 11,785 jobs in Florida through their Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Additionally, 2,407 kids experiencing homelessness were able to receive benefits from Head Start.

For healthcare, 47,921 children were able to have continued access to medical care due to Head Start. As for dental care, 42,633 kids received continuous access to dental care services.

How You Can Apply in Florida

By using the Head Start locator previously provided, contact the program which is closest to you in order to apply to their programs. Your community’s Head Start staff will provide you with the proper paperwork needed to enroll and answer any questions you may have for them.

Aside from being able to answer questions on your eligibility, they can also inform you on what documents you will need to bring when you apply in person to your closest facility in Florida. Don’t hesitate to ask whatever question you have because they can help you with whatever concern you may have. 


In Florida, Head Start offers not only its original Head Start program but also its Early Head Start and Migrant and Season Head Start. When you enroll your child in a Head Start program, you’re not only giving them a chance to prepare for school but providing the tools they need to develop their emotional, social, and cognitive skills.

Although Head Start follows federal poverty guidelines, be sure to contact your local Florida Head Start program to find out if you are eligible even if you don’t meet the federal income requirements. If there are no spaces left, you can be put on a waitlist and enter the program once a spot opens.

If you’re ready to apply to any Head Start program in Florida either call or visit your nearest facility to receive the proper forms you’ll need to fill out and learn what documents you will need to bring for staff to verify.

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