Implementing Early Head Start Home-Based Option Meets HHS Criteria

Model implementation summary last updated: 2020

The information in this implementation report reflects feedback, if provided, from this model’s developer as of the above date. The description of the implementation of the model(s) here may differ from how the model(s) was implemented in the manuscripts reviewed to determine this model’s evidence of effectiveness. Inclusion in the implementation report does not mean the practices described meet the HHS criteria for evidence of effectiveness. Please see the Effectiveness button on the left for more information about any research on the effectiveness of the model, including any version(s) of the model with effectiveness research. Versions of the model that are described in the Adaptations and enhancements section of this implementation report may include (1) versions that were identified by the model’s developer and (2) versions that have been implemented by researchers and have manuscripts that HomVEE rated high or moderate, but that are not supported by the model’s developer.

Model overview

Theoretical approach

Early Head Start is a comprehensive two-generation federal initiative aimed at enhancing the development of infants and toddlers while strengthening families. The model is founded on nine principles:

  1. High quality services;
  2. Activities that promote healthy development and identify atypical development at the earliest stage possible;
  3. Positive relationships and continuity, with an emphasis on the role of the parent as the child’s first and most important relationship;
  4. Activities that offer parents a meaningful and strategic role in the program’s vision, services, and governance;
  5. Inclusion strategies that respect the unique developmental trajectories of young children in the context of a typical setting, including children with disabilities;
  6. Cultural competence that acknowledges the profound role culture plays in early development;
  7. Comprehensiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness of services that allow children and families to move across various program options over time as their life situation demands;
  8. Transition planning; and
  9. Collaboration with community partnerships that allow programs to expand their services.

Early Head Start includes home- or center-based services, a combination of home- and center-based services, and family child care services (services provided in family child care homes). The focus of this report is on the home-based service option (Early Head Start Home-Based Option). The information in this profile describes the Early Head Start Home-Based Option unless specified otherwise.

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Implementation support

The Early Head Start program, which includes the Early Head Start Home-Based Option, is administered by the Office of Head Start in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

ACF regional offices oversee the administration of ACF programs, including the Early Head Start program. The regional offices guide the programmatic and financial management of Early Head Start programs in their jurisdictions and provide assistance, resources, and information to the various entities responsible for administering these programs.

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Intended population

The Early Head Start Home-Based Option serves low-income pregnant women and families with children younger than age 3. To be eligible for services, most families must be at or below the federal poverty level. Early Head Start programs must make at least 10 percent of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities who are eligible for Part C services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in their state. Each individual program is allowed to develop specific program eligibility criteria, aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

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Targeted outcomes

The Early Head Start Home-Based Option aims to (1) promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, (2) enhance the development of very young children, and (3) promote healthy family functioning.

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Model services

Early Head Start Home-Based Option services include a minimum of (1) weekly 90-minute home visits and (2) two group socialization activities per month for parents and their children.

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Model intensity and length

Early Head Start Home-Based Option programs provide at least 1 home visit per week per family (with a minimum of 46 home visits per year) lasting for a minimum of 90 minutes each. They also provide a minimum of 2 group socialization activities per month for children and their families (with a minimum of 22 group socialization activities each year).

Early Head Start Home-Based Option services are provided to eligible pregnant women and families with children from birth until the child’s third birthday.

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Early Head Start programs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Adaptations and enhancements

No information is available about any adaptations and enhancements made to the model. No information is available on the process, if any, for considering modifications to the model.

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Implementation notes

The information contained on this page was last updated in June 2020. Recommended further reading lists the sources for this information. In addition, the information contained in this profile was reviewed for accuracy by the Office of Head Start in February 2020. HomVEE reserves the right to edit the profile for clarity and consistency.

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