A new report by the Center for American Progress found that, in some states, Head Start accounts for one-third of all child-care centers. In rural areas, it is sometimes the only available source of child care for families, enabling parents to go back to work or work more hours. That means the program has a big impact on rural economies, too.
The program also helps children's health. "Mississippi’s Head Start centers provide each child with five screenings when they enroll, including a vision, hearing and dental screening, to ensure no health issues are standing in the way of learning. Many children in the state’s rural or low-income communities would not get these screenings if not for Head Start," Mader reports. "The centers also work with each parent to create a plan for short and long-term goals and connects families with resources that can help parents meet their goals and services that can help children with any developmental delays that arise."