July 14, 2021

The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) Remains Committed to High-Quality Early Learning Services

DFSS Awarded $51.78 Million For Head Start and Early Head Start Programming

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO--The Office of Head Start (OHS), an office of the Administration for Children and Families under the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), has announced its new grant awards for Chicago.  We are pleased to report that, in this new round of funding, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) will receive $51.78M of the $145M to support Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) programming effective August 1, 2021. The remaining funding will be allocated to five community-based organizations. The funding period is for five years.  

The Office of Head Start’s new award allocations for HS/EHS has diversified funding opportunities in Chicago for many community-based organizations.  DFSS remains committed to ensuring that high-quality, advantageous, and safe early-learning programs are accessible to all households. We are dedicated to maximizing investments to meet the needs of the local community and reducing barriers to entry for the children and families we serve.  

Through our funding award, DFSS will support 14 delegate agencies across 39 community areas in serving a total of 2,756 HS/EHS eligible children. 

“For years, the Department of Family and Support Services has been a key player in strengthening our children’s academic foundation,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This new grant will allow the Department to recommit to this important work and further our ongoing, citywide investment in the short- and long-term success of our youngest learners and their families.” 

Throughout this transition, OHS and DFSS will work to ensure that no children or families are displaced. We will continue the mission of Mayor Lightfoot’s Every Child Ready Chicago initiative to ensure that all children entering kindergarten will be ready to succeed in school and life. We remain committed to this charge during this transition period and beyond. 

This process will reshape the early childhood landscape throughout the city and is expected to enhance service delivery. Together, DFSS and the five grantees will pursue the goal for all eligible Chicago children to have an opportunity to participate in a Head Start or Early Head Start programs and will ensure a seamless transition of services for parents.  

Over the next several months, DFSS will collaborate with its delegates on best practices to ensure high-quality early learning programming is provided for all the children we serve.  

DFSS will implement a transition plan that includes assisting delegates in providing continued services to children and families. In addition, we will work with families impacted by these changes to find a quality early learning program for their child based on the parents’ choice. Families interested in enrolling children in one of DFSS’ 14 delegate agencies Head Start or Early Head Start programs can visit www.Chicagoearlylearning.org.