Head Start and Early Head Start

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
703-324-8290 TTY 711
Pennino Building, 12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 920
Fairfax, VA 22035
Flor Philips

Additional Information

banner head start children posing for photo

Additional Information about Head Start and Early Head Start

About Us

History of the Head Start Program

Head Start was founded as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty in 1965. Since then, Head Start has grown from an eight-week demonstration project to include full-day, full-year services and numerous program options. Head Start has served over 30 million children and their families in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories.


The Federal Head Start and Early Head Start grant is awarded to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Fairfax County Public Schools and Higher Horizons are delegate agencies which manage and operate their individual programs. Services are provided in family homes, family child care provider homes and in classrooms.


The Policy Council and Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County share decision-making responsibility regarding program goals and plans, setting program policies and procedures, budget allocations and personnel functions. The Policy Council is a formal structure of Head Start program governance that provides parents and other community representatives with the responsibility and opportunity to participate in shared decision making.

The Board of Supervisors and Policy Council review and approve all major program reports and policies including personnel policies, financial policies, major program policies, grant applications, the financial audit, the self-assessment, the Program Information Report and the Community Assessment; as well as being active in program planning and monitoring.

Reports and Data - Annual Report

2020 Head Start Annual Report *

2019 Head Start Annual Report *

2017 Head Start Annual Report *

2018 Head Start Annual Report *

2020 Head Start Community Assessment *

2017 Head Start Community Assessment *

*Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-8290 or TTY 711.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Eligibility

  • What are the ages for each center?
  • What are the income guidelines? Am I considered low-income?
  • How long is the waitlist?

Services/Program Information

  • What kind of food will my child eat while in care?
  • I am a Family Services worker for a Head Start parent in "another county" and they are getting ready to move to FFX County. What is the process for this family to continue to receive services? Is there a "transfer" of files that could be done between Head Start offices?


  • How I can apply for Head Start jobs?
  • How can I volunteer for Head Start?
  • Do you offer professional development classes?

Family Child Care Options

  • How can I become a provider for Head Start?
  • What are the benefits of Family Child Care?

Related Services

  • How do I apply for SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) benefits?
  • How do I apply for Medicaid?

 See a complete list of frequently asked questions and answers.

Head Start and School Readiness

The Office of Head Start (OHS) defines school readiness as children being ready for school, families ready to support their children's learning, and schools ready for the children who enter their doors.

Children's school readiness is linked to the skills identified in the five domains of the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework:

  • Language and Literacy.
  • Cognition and General Knowledge.
  • Approaches to Learning.
  • Physical Development and Health.
  • Social and Emotional Development.

Families are engaged in their children's learning and development in partnership with Head Start and Early Head Start to support the lifelong success of their child. The OHS Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework helps to identify strategies for engaging families in their children's school readiness and healthy development.

Schools become ready for children when Head Start programs, parents and schools work together to promote school readiness and engage families as their children make the transition to kindergarten.

Learn more about Head Start.

Fairfax County Head Start Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

CACFP Non-pricing Child and Adult Day Care Centers

Fairfax County Head-Start Program announces the sponsorship of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The same meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Snack) will be available at no separate charge to all participants at each CACFP facility without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation or prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.   To file a complaint complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at https://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992.

Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

fax: 202-690-7442; or

email: program.intake@usda.gov

The centers will receive free price meals.

Meals will be provided at these centers:

  • Gum Springs Glen at 7839 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia 22306
  • Gum Springs Children's Center at 8100 Fordson Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22306

For further information please contact: Julie Fowler, Head-Start Coordinator, 703-799-8809, TTY 711.

You may also contact the Virginia CACFP State Agency at the Virginia Department of Health Division of Community Nutrition for more information by calling: 1-877-618-7282 or emailing CACFP@vdh.virginia.gov.

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