Head Start Programs

Head Start is a federally-funded education program for young children from low-income families. The federal government houses an annual Program Information Report (PIR) with reporting outcomes for each Head Start center.

The outcomes depicted below should not be interpreted as quality evaluations of individual Head Start programs. Each program operates in different communities with unique challenges. These data help illuminate challenges to achieving oral health care access for low-income children.

Programs operating multiple sites may not have all sites reflected on the map. Data are self-reported by each program. Not all measures are reported by every organization.


The rate of Head Start children in each program receiving an oral evaluation ranges from 46% to 100%. More than half of programs have rates above 80%.

Many children who needed follow-up dental treatment in 2015 did not receive it. Almost half of all Head Start programs have at least 50% of their children left with untreated tooth decay.

The most common reason programs listed for children not receiving treatment was parents not scheduling an appointment. In Chicagoland, many programs also said parents had scheduled appointments for later dates. Medicaid acceptance and children leaving the program were more common reasons in Central Illinois.