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Head Start in Wisconsin

Head Start/Early Head Start Federal Program Overview:

Head Start/Early Head Start are federal programs for children under the age of 5 from low-income families. The Office of Head Start, through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Administration for Children and Families, manages grant funding and oversees local (state) agencies/programming. 

In Wisconsin, non-profit organizations, schools, community action commissions or other local grantees operate the programs. Children and families who participate engage in a variety of educational  and health activities. Parents/caregivers are partners in the programs and have a wide array of social services available as needed. In Wisconsin most communities are served, at least in part, by Head Start programs. Several communities in Wisconsin also provide Early Head Start programming. Federal funds flow directly to state Head Start/Early Head Start programs.

For specific questions or additional information about federal Head Start/Early Head Start Programming in Wisconsin please contact:  

Jillian Clemens, Head Start Collaboration Office Director:  


The Wisconsin Head Start Association, 608-422-6897

DPI Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement Grant: 

The DPI administers the Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement Grant which provides additional support to federally funded Head Start/Early Head Start programs in Wisconsin. It was created by the Wisconsin legislature in 1989 and first funded in 1991. The grant supports quality improvement efforts and/or expands Head Start/Early Head Start enrollment for children who may be on waiting lists to access federally funded Head Start/Early Head Start programming. The current state supplement provides $6.2 million to 40 Head Start grantees. 

new 2023-2024 Head Start State Supplement Grant Application Is Closed. 

Head Start State Supplement Grant Application 23-24 Tips 

Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement Grant: Allowable Use of Funds-Guidance Document

Additional information about the Wisconsin Head Start Supplement Grant can be found at Head Start State Supplement Grants

For questions specific to the Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement Grant, please contact Sherry W. Kimball at or (608) 267-9625

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.