Head Start

New Locations Announcement: FSW is happy to announce that we are expanding our Head Start and Early Head Start programs to locations in Mount Vernon, Port Chester, New Rochelle, and more.  These locations were previously administered by WestCOP and are being transitioned by the Office of Head Start (OHS) to FSW effective September 1, 2021. Click here for details >

Head Start is a federal government program that was created in 1965 to give preschool children from low-income families a “head start” on their readiness for elementary school.  (Espanol >)

Family Services of Westchester operates five Head Start locations in White Plains, NY and is expanding to more locations across Westchester effective September 1, 2021 (click for details). Enrollment is open to families with proof of residence and those meet federal income eligibility requirements.

Head Start’s Educational Mission

Head Start is more than a preschool program. It supports parents and families in their vital roles as the primary influencers on their young children’s education and development by helping them sharpen their parenting skills and navigate the school system.

In addition to providing a comprehensive top-quality preschool education, Head Start also provides health and nutrition education to its students and their families.

Head Start emphasizes cognitive and language development, social and emotional development, physical and mental health and parent involvement. Participating Head Start families establish a “medical home” where children receive ongoing routine health and dental care.

In addition, parents have access to support programs that help the family move toward economic self-sufficiency.

Head Start Is an Inspiring National Success Story!

Head Start has a proven track record of success! Many studies over the years have demonstrated that involvement in Head Start significantly improves children’s health and their success in school.

For example, the 2004 Head Start Family and Experiences Survey (FACES) found that Head Start helped children overcome severe early socioeconomic handicaps. Compared with more affluent U.S. children of the same age, the Head Start children surveyed were essentially at national norms in early reading and writing and close to catching up with national norms in early math and vocabulary knowledge.

The same study found that English Language Learners (ELLS) benefited from Head Start as well. Because of Head Start, the proportion of ELLS with limited or no understanding of spoken English dropped from 35 percent to 13 percent.

A national evaluation of Early Head Start found that three-year-olds who participated in the program performed significantly better on a range of measures of cognitive, language and social-emotional development than a randomly assigned control group. Even more impressive, their parents scored significantly higher on many aspects of home environment and parenting behavior. Having a child enrolled in Early Head Start also facilitated parents’ progress toward economic self-sufficiency.

How to Apply for Head Start

To apply for Head Start a parent or caregiver must:

  • Have proof of residence (such as a utility bill or phone bill)
  • Have a birth certificate for the child who is applying
  • Meet federal income eligibility requirements
  • View a list of requirements here

Head Start Locations

Family Services of Westchester’s current locations are being expanded beyond White Plains to more locations in Westchester effective September 1, 2021 (click for details).


Contact Information:

Early Childhood Administrative Offices
Family Services of Westchester
106 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
(914) 358-5776

Hope Shapiro Lilian, MS, LMSW, Family and Community Engagement Manager
(914) 358-5692

Danielle Jernigan, MS ED, Education Manager
(914) 358-5561

Carmen Guzman, Health Manager
(914) 997-0147, Ext. 18

Maria Pilco, Early Head Start Coordinator
(914) 761-2731, Ext. 14

Matricula abierta para Head Start

Aun tenemos espacios vacantes en Head Start

  • Los aspirantes a ambos programas deben mostrar certificado de nacimiento y prueba de residencia (por ejemplo, factura de agua, luz o teléfono)
  • Los aspirantes  a Head Start también deben cumplir los requisitos federales de ingreso
  • Para mayor información y/o aplicar a los programas, favor contactar a Carol Kelly, Teléf.: (914) 997-0147, ext. 11, email: ckelly@fsw.org