Frequently Asked Questions

Maricopa County Head Start and Early Head Start programs are no-cost programs for families with children birth to age five. The Head Start program is federally funded and designed to promote school readiness for children from low-income families, families with children with special needs, homeless families, children in Foster Care, teen parents, and grandparents or kin raising grandchildren or kin. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and families with children under age 3. Head Start programs serve children between 3 and 5 years old.

Maricopa County ensures that all staff engaged in the delivery of services to Head Start and Early Head Start families have sufficient knowledge, training, experience, and competencies to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of their positions to delivery high quality experiences in accordance with the program performance standards. We provide ongoing training and professional development to support staff in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.

Health and safety are our top priorities for our children, family, and staff. We see to it that each staff member has an initial health examination and a periodic re-examination as recommended by their health care provider in accordance with state, tribal, or local requirements, that includes screeners or tests for communicable diseases, as appropriate. This is done to ensure staff do not, because of communicable diseases, pose a significant risk to the health or safety of others in the program that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Our program also follows strict COVID policies and procedures at all of our locations.

Early Head Start and Head Start are high quality programs that meet strict local and federal regulations and performance standards. Daily cleaning and sanitation take place at all our facilities. Health and safety are our top priorities for our children, family, and staff.

All of Maricopa County locations follow Office of Head Start Performance Standards, Arizona Child Care Licensing Regulations, Child and Adult Care Food Program requirements, Department of Economic Security Child Care Subsidy Regulations, and local, state, and federal safety regulations. Early Head Start and Head Start implement research based, age-appropriate curriculum for our children. Early Head Start center-based classrooms implement Creative Curriculum. Early Head Start Homebase implements Partners For A Healthy Baby curriculum. Our Head Start Program implements Creative Curriculum. All education programs utilize Conscious Discipline. For our parent education curriculums, we utilize Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) and Conscious Discipline. We are a trauma-informed focus program.

Yes. Early Head Start services offered to pregnant women and their families are based on how the community needs assessment informs each program’s approach. Maricopa County Early Education program provides prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services.

Parents and families are offered program services to support family well-being and to achieve family goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial security. Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families in the learning and development of their child. Each family is assigned to a Family Support Specialist while they are enrolled in our program. Their Family Support Specialist will work with them to help them set goals, access community resources, utilize health and wellness resources, and utilize parent education opportunities.

Yes. Our Homebase program works with prenatal and postpartum families and provides weekly home visits for children ages birth to three years old. Our program also offers center-based infant services for children ages six weeks to one year old.

Our part-year school-based classrooms operate from August to May, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Our full-year center-based classrooms operate January through December, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Our Child Care Partnership full-year center-based classrooms operate January through December, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Our Homebase program offers weekly 90-minute home visits and monthly socialization opportunities January through December.

A typical day in Head Start/Early Head Start would include your child receiving 2 meals and a snack each day, following a daily schedule and routine that supports kindergarten readiness and social-emotional development. A typical day also includes incorporating individualized activities and lesson plans from Creative Curriculum, which is a research-based curriculum.

All staff are required to complete a comprehensive background check and have a valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card.

Children's readiness for school and beyond is fostered through individualized learning experiences. Through relationships with adults, play, and planned and spontaneous instruction, children grow in many aspects of development. These include social skills, emotional well-being, language and literacy skills, mathematics, and science concepts. Early learning experiences also include the cultural and language heritage of each child and family in relevant ways. Parents, including grandparents, foster parents, and other primary caregivers, are recognized as children’s first and most influential teachers. Their knowledge of their children is central to each child’s individualized approach. Additionally, Head Start programs work with families, school districts, and other entities to facilitate a smooth transition to kindergarten for each child.

Maricopa County offers Head Start programs across the region, including Buckeye, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Guadalupe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Surprise, Tempe, and Wittmann. View our locations map for exact details.

Begin my filling out this application: Apply for Early Head Start & Head Start | Maricopa County, AZ. Once your application is received, we will contact you and you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the options available to your family to meet your individual circumstances.