Phone (419) 784-5136 | Address: 1933 E 2nd Street Defiance, Ohio 43512

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Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a federally funded school readiness program for preschool children ages 3-5 years, from families that meet income guidelines based on 100% of the federal poverty guidelines,  are foster children, are homeless or are receiving public assistance. Ten percent of the enrollment is available for children with professionally diagnosed disabilities. NOCAC Head Start services children in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding and Williams counties.

Early Head Start programs provide family-centered services for low-income families with very young children. These programs are designed to promote the development of the children, and to enable their parents to fulfill their roles as parents and to move toward self-sufficiency. Early Head Start programs provide similar services as preschool Head Start programs, but they are tailored for the unique needs of infants and toddlers. Every parent has the right to feel confident and competent.  We want every child to feel safe and secure, loved and valued, curious and capable.  Utilizing the Growing Great Kids curriculum, we partner with parents to reduce their stress and grow the essential parenting and life skills that will empower them to provide their children with a safe, loving home and inner strengths to reach their highest developmental potential.

Children and families enrolled in the NOCAC Head Start program’s participate in a variety of educational, parent focused and school readiness activities. In addition, they receive medical, dental, mental health, developmental, language and literacy screenings, individualized curriculum based on identified needs, healthy meals and snacks and will enjoy learning and playing both indoors and outdoors in safe, age appropriate learning environments. All Center facilities are licensed by the Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services (ODJFS).


What can the Head Start program’s offer your child?

School Readiness: The qualified staff working in the NOCAC Head Start program’s recognize that as parents, you are the primary educator of your child(ren).  Head Start staff rely on parent involvement in and out of the classroom.  These opportunities allow families to have a direct impact on their child’s development. In addition to curriculum based educational opportunities, the Head Start program will provide children with activities that will help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Children enrolled in the Head Start program will interact with other children to socialize, use and develop language and literacy skills, solve problems, share and have many experiences that will encourage them to become more confident and competent. The goal of NOCAC Head Start is for your child to depart the Head Start program more prepared for Kindergarten.  For more information, please review our goals, school readiness plan, and family handbook and calendar.

2022 – 2023 School Calendar

Good Nutrition: Head Start’s nutrition program is one ingredient in the recipe for good health that all children need to grow and prosper.  Head Start offers children nutritious foods through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).   We offer a large variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins prepared in many different ways to allow each child to experience different smells, textures, and tastes.  Our food is always low in salt, sugar and fat. We take pride in offering healthy, homemade and family style meals.


How does the Early Head Start program work?

The full range of Early Head Start services are provided through weekly home visits to each enrolled child and family. The home visitor provides child-focused visits that promote the parents’ ability to support their child’s development. These visits last an hour and a half each. Twice per month, the program offers opportunities for parents and children to come together as a group for learning, discussion, and social activity.


What can Head Start/Early Head Start offer your family?

Support: The Head Start programs offer you a sense of belonging, support services, and a chance to be involved in activities to help your whole family. You can take part in trainings that focuses on a variety of subjects such as parenting, job training, learning about health and nutrition, and using free resources in your own community. Some parents learn the English language; others learn to read. Head Start also offers guidance to parents interested in obtaining a high school General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or other adult education opportunities.

If you have a family member that needs support with drug or alcohol abuse, job loss, or other family crisis, your family can receive help through Head Start. Head Start staff members refer families needing help to other NOCAC programs as well as to medical, social service, or employment providers in the community.

Volunteering: opportunities include the chance to become a Head Start volunteer and learn more about early childhood development. This experience may later qualify you for training which can help you find employment in Head Start or elsewhere in the childcare field.

Parent Committees: You can play a vital role and have a voice in the Head Start program by serving on various parent committees. Parents’ experiences are valued in Head Start and raise self-confidence.

Policy Council: Current Head Start parents elect representatives from the parent committees to serve as Policy Council representatives each school year. The Policy Council works closely with the Director, the management staff and the NOCAC Board in making decisions related to the Head Start program.


How do I enroll my child in the Head Start program’s?

A member of the Recruitment Team will contact you to arrange a convenient time to continue the application process. At that time, you will receive further guidance on any additional information that will be needed.

You will need:

  • Family Income (for 1 year): Income tax return, 1040, W2, 12 month pay stubs, written statement from employer, or documentation of TANF/FIP and SSI (bring current notice of decision)
  • Child’s Birth Verification Hospital or State certificate
  • Medicaid Card
  • Child’s Social Security Card
  • Custody Papers (if applicable)
  • Child’s Immunization Card

Please understand that every application submitted to NOCAC Head Start/Early Head Start is not guaranteed acceptance into the program.  All information is kept confidential.

For more information about the Head Start programs, contact the Head Start/ECE Director, Amber Simmons at or call 419-784-5136, ext. 1111.