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Early Childhood Education Programs picture of pre-school age children in a group in a classroom

For services, call 1-866-214-KIDS (5437)

Early Head Start and Head Start participants now need to undergo lead poisoning screenings. Read more 

Head Start Blocks LogoHead Start

Head Start is a pre-school program supported by federal (through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and state funds (through the Pennsylvania Department of Education).  This comprehensive child-development program serves families with children three to five years of age residing in the Allegheny County/Pittsburgh area whose family income does not exceed 100 percent of the pdf.gif Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.  Head Start is a child-focused program that involves parents in the process to improve a child's readiness for kindergarten.  The program provides a range of individualized educational services in the areas of language development, math, science, and social skills. Early childhood development, behavioral health and nutrition awareness are also part of the program. In most cases, Head Start programs take place in classrooms and are full-day.
Early Head Start blocks logo   Early Head Start

Early Head Start is a federally-funded, comprehensive program for pregnant women and families with children from birth to three years of age residing in the Allegheny County/Pittsburgh area whose family income does not exceed 100 percent of the pdf.gif Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. In most cases, Early Head Start is an in-home services that lasts 90 minutes per day.

Head Start and Early Head Start provide: 

  • Quality education
  • Early Intervention services
  • Social service referrals
  • Parent education and involvement
  • Health and nutrition services
  • A network of supportive service for children with special needs, including Early Intervention services.

    Additionally, Early Head Start provides:
  • Services to pregnant women and families in order to promote healthy prenatal outcomes, enhance the development of very young children and  promote healthy family functioning.

Opportunities for Early Head Start are limited and available only in specific areas.

Children are eligible for Head Start/Early Head Start services regardless of income when: 

  • Family receives or has received Public Assistance (TANF/DPW) benefits within the previous 12 months or the last calendar year.
  • Children are in foster care
  • Family is receiving SSI benefits
  • Family is homeless
  • A limited number of families over the pdf.gif Federal Poverty Income Guidelines may also be served.

Allegheny County Department of Human Services funds the Allegheny County/ Allegheny Intermediate Unit Head Start Program and collaborates with additional Head Start programs throughout Allegheny County including the City of Pittsburgh.

Pre-K Counts logo with blue keystone  Pre-K Counts

Pre-K Counts is a state-funded, quality pre-school program for children between the ages of three and five years. The child must be at least three years old before the date identified by the family's school district as the kindergarten cut-off date to enroll. Children are eligible for Pre-K services if  family income does not exceed 300 percent of the pdf.gif Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

Children are eligible for Pre-K Counts services regardless of income when: 

  • Child is an English Language Learner (ELL)
  • Child has a disability or developmental delay
  • Child or family is at-risk

Individual Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts Programs

For services, call 1-866-214-KIDS (5437)

There are several additional Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs available in Allegheny County including the City of Pittsburgh. Please use the following links below to find additional information.

Allegheny Intermediate Unit
Head Start, Pre-K Counts

Pittsburgh Public Schools
Head Start, Pre-K Counts

COTRAIC - Council of Three Rivers American Indians Centers
Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts

Family Foundations
Early Head Start

Related Resources

pdf.gif DHS: Making an Impact - Allegheny County/Pittsburgh Early Childhood Education Programs (ECEP)
Discover how ECEP provides children with the 'head start' they need.

pdf.gif Early Childhood Education program flyer 

pdf.gif Early Childhood Education program postcard