Head Start / Early Head Start

Give Your Child a Head Start in Life

Our Head Start/Early Head Start program provides infant/toddler and preschool services to children and families throughout Western New York.

The mission of the program is to provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth and development through improved language, literacy, and numeracy skills along with a positive social setting where they can learn about others and explore topics such as health and nutrition. Speech therapists, physical and occupational therapists, and special education teachers work directly with our children and teachers to support their needs.

Parents play a vital role in our program and are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom, develop committees, and be a part of the policy and decision-making process for the program.

There are over 30 Head Start/Early Head Start Academics across our region. The program offers full-day sessions five days per week or limited Academies that offer half-day sessions, four days per week.

Collaboration is a major key to the program’s continued success. Our partnerships with human services programs to jointly operate include Buffalo State College, Reading is Fundamental, and many others.


CAO Mealtime Philosophy
Poster for schools Standards of Conduct Policy
Culture Statement Guiding Principals

Check out these pics of our Early Learners in Action…

We LOVE to see our early learners implementing home-based lessons that they received from their Head Start teachers! Thank you to our dedicated team at St. Agatha’s Head Start Academy for sharing…

As we always say, the best early childhood education begins at home and Head Start is here for you every step of the way!

Are You Eligible?

Head Start/Early Head Start provides services to age and income eligible children and their families. At least 90% of our families must meet income guidelines that are established yearly by the Department of Health and Human Services. Families who receive TANF, SSI, participate in the foster care system and/or are homeless are categorically eligible for the program. In addition, CAO Head Start/Early Head Start makes at least 10% of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities.

Enrollment Requirements:

  • Must have a current physical on CAO form along with a copy of immunizations
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of birth (Birth certificate, paternity of acknowledgment, passport)
  • Proof of Income (Paystubs, W-2’s, 1040, employer letter, TANF or SSI award letter, social security disability, unemployment insurance, child support payment)
  • Please note if paystubs are submitted, if paid weekly 4 consecutive pay stubs are required. If paid bi-weekly 2 consecutive pay stubs are required. Paystubs must be within 30 days of application.

ABLE Early Childhood Program

Members will complete a 30-hour training certificate course through the Child Care Resource Network, which can be applied towards CDA requirements. We’re very excited about our partnership with The Service Collaborative and hope you will join us! Learn more about ABLE and apply today:


Download information (pdf) about the ABLE Early Childhood Program Download information (doc) about the ABLE Early Childhood Program