Head Start & Early Head Start

We prepare your child for preschool and kindergarten using activities and experiences that develop their cognitive and emotional skills. We also have programs for pregnant women and children to fit the needs of your family.

Who Qualifies?

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are available to families who meet specific income guidelines. You may also be eligible if you receive public assistance or other benefits.

Early Head Start programs are available from before your child is born until they turn 3. You may qualify for our pregnant women program, home visiting program, or our part-day or full-day program.

Head Start programs are available to preschool-age children. If you have a child between 2.9 and 5 years old, you may qualify for either our part-day or full-day program.

If your family is Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF)-involved, you may also qualify for a specialized DCF Supportive placement.

Maybe you’re a teen parent or you’re struggling with homelessness, or your family is experiencing other difficult circumstances. Our Head Start and Early Head Start specialized services can provide superb childcare and early education while you work, look for a job, or pursue your education.

If you are a parent experiencing homelessness, you may qualify for specialized services. You’ll need a referral from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Specialized child care openings are available at most Early Head Start and Head Start program locations.

Only the Best for Your Child

Head Start is a family development program that offers comprehensive services for your child as well as your entire family. Part of a highly successful national program, ABCD Head Start has locations throughout Boston, Malden and Everett with operating hours based on your needs and eligibility. Our services concentrate on your child’s education, nutrition, and physical and mental health.

With input from you, our programs are designed to meet your child’s individual needs while respecting and reflecting your community’s ethnic and cultural values. Classroom curriculum builds on the interests of your child and offers a variety of intentional learning opportunities. These include “family style” nutritional meal times filled with conversation, social interaction and introductions to new foods.

We also provide you and your child opportunities to learn about healthy living. Each child receives annual hearing, vision and nutrition screenings, along with services, referrals and resources to support their health when needed.

Early Head Start works with pregnant women, infants and toddlers to ensure that very young children get the care and stimulation proven by research to aid brain development in the earliest years.

Head Start & Early Head Start also feature intensive parent engagement that gives mothers and fathers extensive support opportunities to move up the economic ladder. Your active involvement is an essential part of our program because you are your child’s primary teacher. Our family service staff works in partnership with you to achieve the goals you wish for your child and to support their learning and healthy development. You’ll have opportunities to connect with other parents and your community by assisting in program planning, design, feedback, volunteering in the classroom and extending the learning environment into your home.



If you love being with children or perhaps envision a career with Head Start, explore our volunteer and internship programs!


Innovations & Collaborations

Since 1965, we have established ourselves as national experts in the field of early childhood development with a proven track record of serving low income families. ABCD Head Start also helps to advance research and positive outcomes through key collaborations. We welcome you to explore.

For more information and publications, please visit Head Start Resources.

Map Locations

If you live in Boston, Malden, Medford or Everett, find an ABCD Head Start or Early Head Start center near you.