Early Head Start and Head Start


Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families, and pregnant women and their families. MFCS' Early Head Start serves 112 children across Hernando and Volusia Counties. Early Head Start programs serve families through a full day, full year program. MFCS Early Head Start is center-based and provides early learning, care and enrichment experiences to children in an early care and education setting. Staff members also visit family homes at least twice per year.

Head Start is a nationally-recognized early education program which seeks to develop or improve social competency and school readiness in children ages 3-4, through quality, individualized, comprehensive and culturally sensitive service delivery. Head Start works collaboratively with community partners to empower families to achieve positive outcomes.  

MFCS administers the federally-funded Head Start program and the state-funded Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program in Hernando, Sumter and Volusia Counties. This program serves 977 three- and four-year old children from low-income families, preparing them for kindergarten through developmentally appropriate curriculum, the provision of health, mental health, nutrition, and dental services. Social services are provided for families, and parent involvement is the key to program success. Ten percent of enrollment opportunities are made available to children with disabilities. To see our list of locations, visit http://www.midfloridaheadstart.com/locations/index.

Who is Eligible:

Early Head Start serves low-income infant and toddlers age 6 weeks to 3 years. Infants and toddlers can begin to receive Early Head Start services at any point in the year after they are 6 weeks old. (Note: placement is subject to eligibility and slot vacancy.)  Early Head Start also provides support for income eligible pregnant women.

Head Start serves low-income children ages three to five years. Children can begin to receive Head Start services at any point in the year when they turn 3 years old. (Note:  placement is subject to eligibility and slot vacancy.) 

Services Available: 

Head Start provides a comprehensive array of services to children and families, including the following:

  • Education - developmentally appropriate classroom activities to prepare children for kindergarten and life;
  • Disability Services - 10% of the funded enrollment is made available for children with disabilities;
  • Health Services - medical, dental, nutritional and mental health services; and,
  • Family Services - social service assistance, parent involvement in all aspects of the program, leadership development, family self-sufficiency assistance and family development 

Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and the family's ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage. 



Early Head Start/Head Start programs are federally funded, comprehensive child development programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


There is no charge for Early Head Start, Head Start, or VPK for "eligible" families. 


Contact Information:



Locations:    Hernando, Sumter and Volusia Counties. To see our list of all locations, visit http://www.midfloridaheadstart.com/locations/index.


Head Start Hours of Operation:

Hernando County – 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Sumter County – 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Volusia County – 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

*Extended hours are available at designated sites.


Early Head Start Hours of Operation:

Hernando County – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Volusia County – 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

*Extended hours are available at each location offering Early Head Start services.

Applications for enrollment will be accepted as follows : 

Hernando and Sumter Counties 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or you may call for an appointment at the Hernando or Sumter centers listed below. 

Applications for enrollment will be accepted as follows : 

Volusia County 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or you may call for an appointment at the Volusia centers listed below. 

Please bring with you the following information to your application appointment: 

  • Proof of child's age (such as Birth Certificate, immunization record)
  • Proof of residency such as: Florida driver's license, utility bill, I.D., etc.;
  • Proof of income for parent/guardian for the last 12 months or previous calendar year;
  • If child has a disability: IEP, diagnosis etc.; and.
  • Proof of custody (if applicable).

Para el momento de la aplicación se requieren los siguientes documentos:

  • Certificado de Nacimiento del niño/a
  • Prueba de su dirección. (puede servir un recibo de pago de algún servicio o su licencia de conducir si tiene su dirección actual);
  • Prueba de entrada económica del padre/guardián del niño/a de los últimos 12 meses o del  año anterior;
  • Si el niño/a es discapacitado: Diagnostico medico o plan de terapia; and,
  • Prueba de custodia legal si se requiere.

Please Click Here to download the most recent Federal Poverty Guidelines Chart.


Para información en Español del programa de Head Start, favor de comunicarse a los siguientes teléfonos:

En el Condado de Sumter 

(352) 793-3737

En el Condado de Hernando
(352) 754-2464
 En el Condado de Volusia
(386) 736-1325, extension 230 
Early Childhood and Knowledge Center Florida KidCare


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Customer Satisfaction Survey

Success Stories
Trevor has made so much progress

Trevor was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by Volusia County Schools, which recommended his immediate transition to the Full Day Mild Varying Exceptionalities class.  But Trevor had made so much progress while enrolled in Head Start - he was speaking in 2-3 word sentences.  Head Start teachers and staff refuse to give up on a child's potential to be their best!

Success Stories
Success Stories
I love the whole experience

I’m so happy that my son is attending Head Start in Bushnell.  The experience has been so positive.  They showed me that being a part of my son's schooling was so important and so meaningful.  When my son started, he was smart, but during the school year, he has developed so much more. The staff made me feel so loved and welcome, but it was also good to know someone loved my son as much as I did.

D. Platt

Success Stories
It is a great feeling to work with people that care ...

My name is Heloise Gibbons and I am employed as a teacher at Bushnell Head start. I became employed with Mid Florida Head Start Program in 2005. I started as a teacher assistant at a center in Wildwood (Sumter County) and transferred to Bushnell in 2012.

My favorite parts of my job include the ability to work independently and the people I work with. It is a great feeling to work with people that care about the company and commit to doing a good job. Teaching is a great job because every day I feel successful because I have had some influence on the future through teaching a young child.


Success Stories
Success Stories
Working together with the family as a team ...

Juvenal began the 2015-16 school year with severe dental decay, 13 teeth out of 20 had severe issues and needed to be restored. He was also facing the possibility of losing his 4 front teeth.  Since he did not have insurance, the Family Advocates helped Juvenal's family complete all of the paperwork for Medicaid. Once the child was approved for Medicaid, they and the Oral Health Services Coordinator, scheduled Juvenal's pre-operative exam for oral surgery. The surgeon, Dr. Elmore, completed the pre-oerative exam, identified his needs and felt confident that she could address them all. She was able to restore all 13 teeth! Working together with the family as a team, our Family Advocates and Health Team were able to provide a successful outcome for Juvenal who is happy and thriving in the classroom with a great smile!

Success Stories
Success Stories
Let me 'See'...

Meet Jaiella who attends MFCS' Head Start at the Coleman Center in Volusia County. After recently failing Head Start's vision screening, our Medical Services' Coordinator assisted the family in scheduling an appointment with the local optometrist. The result? Jaiella received her first pair of eyeglasses at no cost!

Success Stories
Success Stories
The HEAD START to my success, By Krista Callahan

In 2012, I moved to Florida seeking employment and found an opening at Mid Florida Community Services Head Start as a center aide. I worked for a year and a half as a center aid and an opening for a teaching assistant opened up. I was so excited when I applied for the position and was accepted! From there, Mid Florida Community Services Head Start helped me go back to school and obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and in 2014 I became a lead teacher in a Head Start classroom. I love Head Start and all it stands for and want to serve families and children as much as I can. In the summer of 2017, I accepted the position of a Child Development Specialist. This position allows me to impact the lives of multiple families as I supervise seven classrooms in both Head Start and Early Head Start. I am forever thankful to Head Start for giving me my start and to Mid Florida Community Services Head Start for their continued support and contributions to my success that I may share it with others!

Success Stories