Early Head Start services are provided to 40 pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers in Gulf County. (Recently awarded an Early Head Start expansion grant and by August 2003 the total number of Early Head Start participants will increase to 100 for Gulf County.) The mission of EHS is to promote health prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhance the development of very young children, and to promote healthy family functioning.

EHS is an intensive, comprehensive, flexible program that is designed to reinforce and respond to the unique strengths of each individual child and family. The program services include: quality early education both in and out of the home; parenting education; comprehensive health and mental health services, including services to women before, during, and after pregnancy; nutrition; and family support services.

As with Head Start, Early Head Start offers children and families with comprehensive child development services through center-based options. Children and families enrolled in center-based programs receive comprehensive child development services in a center base setting, supplemented with home visits by the child’s teacher and other EHS staff.