Head Start is a federal program originated during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and enacted into law in 1965 that provides comprehensive developmental services for America's low-income, pre-school children ages 3- to 5-year old and social services for their families.
The program serves approximately 1 million children, of which about two-thirds are transported. Federal law requires this transportation to and from school to be provided on school buses or similar multi-function school activity buses.
The program originated in the Office of Economic Opportunity as an innovative way in which to serve childre of low income families. In 1969, Head Start was transferred to the Office of Child Development in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It has since come under the jurisdiction of the Administration of Children and Families within Health and Human Services.
The cornerstone of the program is parent and community involvement, which has made it one of the most successful pre-school programs in the country. Approximately 1,400 community-based, non-profit organizations and school systems develop unique and innovative programs to meet specific needs.