Project Description

Orange County Head Start & Early Head Start

About Orange County, NC Head Start

The Orange County Head Start & Early Head Start program began in 1997 as an Early Head Start program. Originally, the program was funded to serve 100 children age birth to three and pregnant women in low-income households in Orange County, NC. In 2003, the Pre-K Head Start program was added with funding to serve 80 additional children and families in Northern Orange County.

Orange County is composed of two distinct areas that conform to the two school districts that serve the county. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro area is in the southeastern corner of the county and is home to the University of North Carolina, and its 20,000 students. With more than half the county’s population, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area has its own school system. The rest of the county is mainly rural with social, educational and economic conditions that are typical of other rural areas in the state. The Orange County school district serves the rest of the county.

The Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project, Inc. was a division of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System (CHCCS) from 1969 until 1997. In 1984, FCR acquired funding to start the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Head Start program which remained with the CHCCS after FCR. became an independent, 501 (c)(3), non-profit organization in 1997.

Today, there are two Head Start programs serving Orange County:

  • The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Head Start Program of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System
  • The Orange County Head Start & Early Head Start program of Families & Communities Rising

Orange County Main Office
4220 NC-55, Suite 300
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: 919-490-5577

Apply Now

Apply to Orange County HS/EHS (English)
Postularse a Orange County HS/EHS (Español)

To qualify for enrollment in the Orange County Head Start and Early Head Start program, families must meet the poverty guidelines that are established by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

At time of enrollment, families must provide documentation to demonstrate that they are living at or below these guidelines.

2020  Head Start Family Income Eligibility Guidelines (130% of the Federal guidelines for poverty):

Family Size: Yearly family Income
Yearly family Income
1 $12,760 $16,588
2 $17,240 $22,412
3 $21,720 $28,236
4 $26,200 $34,060
5 $30,680 $39,884
6 $35,160 $45,708
7 $39,640 $51,532
8 $44,120 $57,356
For each additional family member  Add: $4,480
Pregnant women and families with children under age three who are living in Orange County are eligible to apply for the Early Head Start program. Families with children age 3 and 4 and who reside in that portion of Orange County served by the Orange County Schools are eligible to apply for the Pre-K Head Start program. Those otherwise qualified families living in the portion of Orange County served by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are eligible to apply for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Pre-K Head Start program.

Click on the table below for Head Start enrollment applications (in English or Spanish) that you can print, fill out and mail along with additional required documents to:
Orange Co. Head Start and Early Head Start
4220 NC-55, Suite 300
Durham, NC 27713

English: Spanish:
Head Start and Early Head Start Head Start and Early Head Start

All Head Start families receive an array of individualized services based on each family’s situation: their strengths, needs, goals, and aspirations. Families who qualify for center-based services receive high quality child care/education at low or no cost. Families who qualify for the home-based option are offered parent-child playgroups and weekly home visits focused on parent education and child development. All home-based and playgroup services are offered in Spanish and at no cost to enrolled families

When a family enrolls in Head Start, they are given a thorough assessment and then they have an opportunity to develop their own individualized plan for their family based on their circumstances and their goals and objectives. Head Start staff then helps the family achieve these goals.

Head Start Services Include:

  • High Quality Child Care
  • Home-based option
  • Health, medical and nutrition services for child and family
  • Mental health and substance abuse services
  • Child dental services
  • Literacy services, including ESL
  • Involvement of parents in program governance
  • Services to enhance self-sufficiency
  • Services for children with disabilities

In order to provide this array of services with limited funding, a fundamental philosophy of collaboration is the foundation for program operations. Program staff works with many area organizations to assure that Head Start families are provided the resources they need to make a real difference in their lives. Collaborators include:

  • Orange County Partnership for Children
  • Smart Start
  • NC PreK
  • Two nationally accredited child care centers
  • Area Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse agency
  • Orange County Health Department
  • Orange County Department of Social Services
  • Orange County Literacy Council
  • UNC Hospitals

A special collaborative relationship has been developed with the Orange County Schools which is providing classroom space at three of their elementary schools. A goal for the OC Schools and the Head Start program is to expand into the other elementary schools in Orange County so that each of their schools will have a Pre-K classroom for children who will be enrolling in that school the following year.

In Head Start, parents are regarded as their child’s primary teacher. Parents are involved in all aspect of the program from volunteering in the classrooms to participating on the Head Start main decision-making board, the Head Start Policy Council.

The Head Start Policy Council has primary responsibility for operating the Head Start program in partnership with the FCR. Board of Directors. The Policy Council is composed mainly (80%) of current Head Start parents. Other members are community representatives. No Head Start staff member is a voting member of the Council. One Policy Council member is also a member of the FCR Board of Directors.

Chapel Hill Day Care Center

401 Kildare Road Chapel, NC 27516

(919) 929-3585 | MAP

Fairview Child and Family Center

125 Lawndale Avenue Hillsborough, NC 27278

(919) 643-2009 | MAP

HB- Homestead Based Playgroups

600 Homestead Road Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 490-5577 | MAP

KidSCope Early Learning Center

1712 Willow Drive Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 644-6590 | MAP

UNC Horizons Child Development Center

134 Municipal Drive Chapel Hill, NC 27514

(919) 445-6127 | MAP

Fairview Child and Family Center

125 Lawndale Hillsborough, NC 27278

(919) 643-4000 | MAP

Orange County School District

125 Lawndale Hillsborough, NC 27278

(919) 490-5577 | MAP


Our children and families have looked to us for strength and assistance and we have worked to answer that call. Join us.