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Head Start is the largest federal education/childcare program for preschoolers. How much does the federal government spend per year for each child enrolled in this program?

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In 2019, the federal government spent an average of $11,417 for each child enrolled in Head Start. This does not include additional funds from state governments. Head Start "provides comprehensive educational, social, health, and nutritional services to low-income preschool children and their families." From 2002 through 2008, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services conducted a nationally representative experimental study of the effects of Head Start. The study found "there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts," and among these, some were positive and some were negative with no "clear pattern" in either direction.

DocumentationHead Start SpendingHead Start Outcomes




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