Children & Family Services

Head Start serves over 5,100 children daily. Perhaps the most successful program ever created for children, Head Start was initiated in 1965 to provide educational programs for pre-school children in poverty. The program provides educational and special educational services, health, dental, mental health, social and nutritional services. Parent involvement in program planning, parent education and site operation, is an essential part of the program. Parent involvement in program planning, parent education and site operation, is an essential part of the program. Parents learn leadership and advocacy skills as they become involved in their communities, school districts and local government. Teamed with the One Stop Career Centers, Head Start promotes employment and training programs to help parents become self-sufficient.

The Sacramento County Head Start program is administered by SETA, a joint powers agency of the City and County of Sacramento.

Program Overview


Head Start program’s mission is to improve the lives of low-income children by providing comprehensive child development services that are family focused, including education, health, nutrition, and mental health.

Ages of Children

  • Early Head Start serves families with children birth to age 3.
  • Preschool Head Start serves families with children 3 to 5 years of age.


  • SETA Head Start/Early Head Start is free to income eligible families based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
  • Children from families receiving public assistance (TANF and SSI) are eligible for SETA Head Start/Early Head Start services regardless of income.
  • Children in foster care are SETA Head Start eligible, regardless of family income.

How to Enroll

Program Availability

  • Head Start has services that are center-based, home-based, part day (morning, afternoon, twilight), extended day, full-day, school year, and year-round. Hours are designed to cater to the demands of working and/or going to school families.
  • SETA Head Start collaborates with the California Department of Education to provide full-day services at various locations throughout Sacramento County.
  • SETA Head Start collaborates with Twin RIvers School District, Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento City Unified School District, San Juan Unified School District and the Women’s Civic Improvement Club to offer comprehensive services to children and families.

Early Childhood Education

  • Head Start provides a high quality developmentally appropriate education program.
  • Head Start curriculum is specifically designed to help children develop language, literacy and numeracy skills and learn how to socialize and interact with others.
  • Children leave Head Start prepared for kindergarten, excited about learning, confident in their abilities, and ready to succeed.

Prevention and Early Intervention Services

  • Enrolled children have timely immunizations and screenings for medical, dental, nutrition and mental health.
  • Children see medical professionals regularly and participate with parents and staff in experiences that promote positive mental health, improved self-esteem, stress management, and personal growth.
  • All Head Start children are provided nutritious meals and snacks daily.
  • Head Start ensures that all children receive physical exams as required by the American Academy of Pediatrics and children identified as needing further follow-up services receive those services.

Disabilities Services

  • Ten percent of enrollments are offered to children with disabilities.
  • Services for children with disabilities and their families are provided in coordination with local early intervention and education agencies, community organizations, supports services and school districts.

Parent Involvement

  • Our mission is accomplished by involving parents in the total operation and administration of the program supporting the growth of children and families through encouragement, nurturing, and empowerment.
  • Parents are empowered to be their child’s first teacher, achieve skills in decision-making, group process, and leadership.

Family Literacy

  • Family literacy is stressed in the classroom as children are exposed to books and printed materials, read to, and encouraged in their language development.
  • Books are made available in the family’s primary language.
  • Head Start parents are also encouraged to improve their own literacy skills and are provided support to further their education efforts in obtaining a GED or pursuing higher educational opportunities.

Social Services

  • Through a broad range of social services, Head Start assists parents in their own efforts to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children.
  • Head Start provides parent education and support in the areas of health, budget management, child development and parenting.

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