The Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start program administers the CAO Head Start Program which serves eight hundred ninety-seven (897) preschool children and two hundred and five (205) pregnant adolescents, women and families with infant and toddlers. The program serves children at fifteen centers located throughout the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Springville, Getzville, Derby, Gowanda and Blasdell.
In addition to the fifteen direct run sites, the Community Action Organization also delegates two programs to Bethel Head Start and Holy Cross Head Start Programs, which together serves one thousand, eighty six (1,086) children in Buffalo, Amherst, the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda, Cheektowaga, Depew/Lancaster and Akron, New York.
Head Start provides infant/toddler and preschool services in seventy-six (76) learning environments and classrooms at administrative offices and centers located at over thirty five (35) academies. A variety of program options are available to meet the needs of the families. We offer half day classes, four days per week and full day classes five days per week, full year and extended day sessions. The Early Head Start Program services are offered through center and home based options.
Collaboration is a major key to the Early Childhood Department's continued success. Our partnerships with human services programs to jointly operate Head Start experiences include:
- Buffalo Hearing and Speech
- Buffalo Public Schools Universal Pre-K
- Child Pro
- Frontier Universal Pre-K
- Gateway-Longview, Inc.
- Heritage Center Program
- Reading is Fundamental (RIF)
- Springville League for the Handicapped
Speech therapists and special education teachers work directly in the classrooms and with our teachers to enrich our language development services.
Head Start/Early Head Start provides services to age and income eligible children and their families. At least 90% of our families must meet income guidelines that are established yearly by the Department of Health and Human Services. Families who receive TANF, SSI, participate in the foster care system and/or are homeless are categorically eligible for the program. In addition, CAO Head Start/Early Head Start makes at least 10% of their enrollment opportunities available to children with disabilities. Head Start services are delivered at 34 locations throughout Erie County.