Head Start/Early Head Start

Head Start/Early Head Start is a quality comprehensive child and family development program that serves pregnant women, infants, toddlers and preschool children (ages three to five) and their families. Children entering kindergarten prepared to succeed is the overall goal of Head Start as well as giving parents the tools they need to guarantee their child’s success.

Head Start/Early Head Start is administered by the Office of Head Start through the Administration of Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Grants are awarded directly to local public agencies, private organizations, Indian Tribes and school systems for the purpose of operating Head Start/Early Head Start within the community. Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action is the grantee for our Head Start/Early Head Start Program.

Head Start has a 50-year tradition of delivering comprehensive and high-quality services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children. Head Start grantees provide a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development, medical, dental, mental health, nutrition, and parent involvement. Head Start also provides services to children with disabilities in collaboration with the local school systems and the Children’s Developmental Services Association. The entire range of Head Start services is responsive and appropriate to each child and family’s developmental, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage and experience.

All Head Start/Early Head Start programs must adhere to Program Performance Standards. Performance standards define the services that Head Start programs are to provide to the children and families they serve. They constitute the expectations and requirements that grantees must meet. Performance standards are designed to ensure that the Head Start/Early Head Start goals and objectives are implemented successfully, that the Head Start philosophy continues to thrive, and that all agencies maintain the highest possible quality in the provision of services.

All centers are four and five star rated through the Division of Child Development. The Selma Early Head Start Learning Center is Early Head Start only. Dunn Head Start, Lee County Head Start, and Lillington Head Start are Head Start and Early Head Start. Class sizes range from 15-20. Head Start is funded for 637 preschoolers and 80 pregnant women, infants, and toddlers.


How To Apply For Head Start/Early Head Start


Child must be 3 or 4 by August 31 of the year you plan to enroll in Head Start. Child must be 6 weeks of age to enroll in Early Head Start. Pregnant women should have had their first prenatal visit. Income should fall below the Income Guidelines established by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Eligibility will be determined based on an established selection and enrollment criteria approved by the Board and Policy Council of Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action and the availability of classroom space. If you are deemed eligible for Head Start/Early Head Start and there are no slots available, you will be placed on a waiting list and notified as vacancies arise.


You will be asked to provide one of the following documents in order to verify income:
  • A copy of your most recent Income Tax Form 1040, or W-2 forms, or
  • Verification of monthly public assistance, or
  • Verification of child support, or
  • Verification of Supplemental Security Income or
  • Social Security benefits, or
  • Verification of foster care payment, or
  • Verification of unemployment benefits, or
  • Letter from employer on company letterhead, or
  • A copy of any other verification deemed necessary to determine eligibility.
Copies of the following will also be needed:
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Child’s immunization record
  • Child’s social security card
  • Child’s Medicaid/Health Choice card or private insurance card
  • Child’s current physical (must have been completed within last 12 months)