Early Head Start
Early Head Start

Children and families in Crow Wing, Morrison, and Todd counties were among the "first in the nation" to enroll in Early Head Start. TCC launched Early Head Start thirteen years ago building on the 35-year successful track record of Head Start. Early Head Start is for pregnant women, children from birth to age three and their families.


Like Head Start, Early Head Start believes parents are the first and most important teachers in the lives of their children–and that all parents want the best for their children.


At TCC, we recognize that parenting can be both rewarding and challenging. Most families need occasional support and assistance in child rearing, regardless of their resources and circumstances.


Early Head Start helps families identify and use their individual family strengths to support and nurture their children, so that the family can develop to its fullest potential.


What is Early Head Start?
Early Head Start is a family centered program for income-eligible pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers under the age of three. Program participants will be matched with an Early Head Start home visitor who will meet with the family on a weekly basis. They are professionals with education and experience in early childhood development.


Early Head Start families receive:

  • One and one-half hour home visits per week, 48 per year
  • Two half-day socializations per month, 24 per year
  • Two parent conferences per year
  • Nutrition, health, & safety education for pregnant women and help locating community resources


Each Early Head Start Child Care partnership receives:

  • Parent newsletters
  • Parent meetings once a month
  • Child and family nutrition assessments
  • Child vision/hearing/developmental screenings
  • Licensed psychologist available for consultation
  • Individual Service Plan for each child
  • Special Need Services, if needed (see what is considered a special need)


Who is Eligible for Early Head Start?

  • Families meeting income eligibility
  • Pregnant women
  • Families with infants and/or toddlers under the age of three
  • Families living in Crow Wing, Morrison and Todd counties
  • Children with special needs  (see what is considered a special need)


How Much Does It Cost?
Early Head Start, is a free program and is provided year round.

Where Will My Child Receive Early Head Start Services?
Early Head Start is available in a Home Visiting option or TCC’s Early Head Start Center. The centers offering Early Head Start are TCC Early Childhood Center located in Brainerd, and in Little Falls.

Home Based Early Head Start is offered at the families' home year round and in a group setting at least twice a month. See Home Based Head Start for more information.


How Do I Apply for Head Start?

  • Call or write TCC and ask for an application form
  • Fill out an application
  • Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a phone call to set up a meeting and to discuss if you qualify for one of these programs


What are the Highlights and Benefits of Early Head Start?

  • Free program including free meals
  • Field trips and special events
  • Family and community partnerships
  • Volunteer and employment opportunities
  • Family literacy
  • Education and transitioning
  • Screenings
  • Social services
  • Health and mental services
  • Medical and dental services
  • Localized services tailored to meet the family needs
  • Services for children with special needs. (see what is considered a special need)


Benefits are summarized in an evaluation of Early Head Start announced by Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.


Click What's New and look for:

Early Head Start Shows Significant Results for Low Income Children and Parents. In the article "Shalaha states, "Early Head Start is about giving our youngest & most disadvantaged children a chance to grow up healthy, to learn and to prepare for school." She also said "…the Early Head Start blueprint of an early, intensive program can yield significant results and brighter outcomes for children."


Early Head Start at TCC is one of 635 Early Head Start programs serving 45,000 low-income families in the United States. The program was launched in 1995 nationally and in 1998 locally.

  • Contact Usfor more information regarding Head Start.