Welcome to the Virginia Head Start Association 

What is Head Start?

Head Start is a national child development program for children from birth to age 5, which provides services to promote academic, social and emotional development for income-eligible families.

Created in 1965, Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. Head Start is a child-centered, family focused, comprehensive and community-based program. Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, dental, mental health, social services and parent involvement opportunities to low-income children and their families. More than 21 million preschool aged children have benefited from Head Start.

2020 Virginia Fact Sheet

Our Mission

The Virginia Head Start Association dedicates itself to training and advocacy which enhances and fosters growth of individual members, member agencies, partners and others who impact the lives of children and families.

What's the latest?


United Way of Roanoke Valley with STEP and TAP Head Start have been working collaboratively with local school systems to develop a new way for families to apply for early care and education. The program, called Smart2Start, is a coordinated enrollment system that will improve efficiency in the placement of children into early care and education programs, thereby making full use of publicly-funded seats.
Smart2Start will help the most vulnerable of our young residents by streamlining recruitment, eligibility, and enrollment in early care and education. The unique system brings together public-school systems, Head Start programs, and private providers to place children in early care and educational settings. A single application for programs in six counties throughout the Roanoke Valley will account for the preferences and needs of each child’s family.
Smart2Start will serve as a single point of contact, ensuring all families have access to these early childhood resources. Although Smart2Start is especially beneficial to socially or economically disadvantaged families, all families can benefit from the implementation of this coordinated enrollment system.

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Upcoming Conference News

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Finishing out 2020 with Self Care
December 9-10, 2020
Healthy Goals for 2021
January 13-14, 2021