YDI Early/Head Start has experienced dramatic growth since it became the interim Head Start grantee in Bernalillo County in 1995, mirroring the growth of the Early/Head Start Program across the country since President Johnson declared “War on Poverty” in 1964.
Sargent Shriver was named head of the "War on Poverty" program and in December 1964 he asked Dr. Robert Cooke, pediatrician at John Hopkins University, to head a steering committee of specialists in all fields to discuss what should be done for young children.
Designed to help break the cycle of poverty by providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, educational, and physical needs, Head Start was launched, serving over 560,000 children and families across American in an eight-week summer program. By 1984 Head Start had served 9,144,990 children and their families. In 1972 the Economic Opportunity Act was amended, mandating that at least 10 percent of the national enrollment of Head Start consist of handicapped children. In September 1995 the first Early Head Start grants were awarded to provide services for children birth to age three and pregnant women.
In 1996 YDI became the permanent grantee for Head Start in Bernalillo County. At that time the Head Start program in Bernalillo County had 8 centers. Today YDI’s Head Start program operates 32 NAEYC accredited centers in three counties with a total funded enrollment of 1,532 children.
In 1998 YDI became the interim grantee for the Head Start program in Rio Arriba and Taos Counties and became the permanent grantee the following year. Today, YDI provides Head Start services to 1,122 children in Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, and Taos counties. Since 1998 YDI began offering Early Head Start services to 32 infants/toddlers and their families and 8 pregnant moms in Bernalillo County. Today YDI Early Head Start has expanded to serving 260 infants/toddlers and pregnant women in Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, and Taos Counties. In June of 2015, YDI partnered with two community based early childhood programs in Bernalillo County as a part of the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership initiative, to expand Early Head Start's high quality center-based infant and toddler care and family services to community based providers. The supportive role YDI has taken in support of these partnerships is further evidence of how the YDI Early Childhood Division provides leadership in the State of New Mexico in providing high quality early childhood and family support services.
How to Apply
You are eligible for Head Start if your child(ren) are between 3 and 5 years old and you meet the federal income guidelines. The third birthday has to occur before September 1 of the school year for which you are applying. Your child is eligible for Early Head Start at six months of age and will be able to transition into Head Start when he/she turns 3. If you are pregnant you are welcome to apply to the pregnant moms program. To make an appointment with a services specialist for application, call the Head Start administrative office and you will be referred to the center nearest to you.
In Bernalillo County Call: 505-212-7239
In Taos or Rio Arriba County Call: 1-877-228-0068
You will be asked to bring the following:
- Proof of income for the past 12 months
- Proof of Birth (Birth Certificate)
- Up-to-date Immunization Record