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Head Start in Wisconsin

Head Start Overview:

Head Start is a Federal program for preschool children from low-income families. In Wisconsin, non-profit organizations, schools, community action commissions or other local grantees operate the Head Start program. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive free medical and dental care. They are served healthy meals and snacks. Their parents are partners in the program and have a wide array of social services available as needed. Most communities in Wisconsin are served, at least in part, by Head Start programs. Early Head Start is also available in several Wisconsin communities and serves children birth to age 3 and their families. Federal funds flow directly to state Head Start grantees.The Wisconsin Head Start Association website can provide you with information about Head Start on the state and national levels; including contact information about specific Wisconsin Head Start programs.

Resources and Information 

newNEW-Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement 2019-2020 Grant Flexibility—COVID-19

During this COVID-19 health emergency, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) focus is on keeping children, families, and professionals healthy and safe. It has been reviewing state grant requirements to determine if flexible fund use and modified grant processes can support this goal. This guidance document outlines approved flexibility and modified processes for reporting and submitting fiscal claims for the remaining three months of the grant (ending June 30, 2020).

WI DCF Background Check Requirements

The Wisconsin Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Public Instruction (DPI) Background Check Requirements: This joint memo addresses questions regarding how background check requirements for regulated child care and the new Head Start Program Performance Standards impact collaboration between child care providers, Head Start programs, public schools and special education (and other support services) for children.

Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement

The Head Start State Supplement was created by the legislature in 1989 and first funded in 1991. The Head Start State Supplement is administered through DPI. The program provides a Head Start experience to preschool children who would otherwise be on waiting lists to receive the federal Head Start program. The current state supplement provides $6.2 million to 40 Head Start grantees. Approximately 753 children are serviced through the current state supplement.

The 2019-2020 Head Start Supplement Grant Applications are now electronically available and are due on July 10, 2019. (Note that the deadline was changed from July 1 to July 10, but this is not reflected in the application.)

For questions specific to the grant application please contact Sherry W. Kimball at or (608) 267-9625

Additional information about the Wisconsin Head Start Supplement can be found on the Head Start State Supplement Grants page 


For questions about this information, contact Sherry Kimball (608) 267-9625