The Tulare County Child Care Educational Program serves both Head Start and non-Head Start children in a largely collocated program that offers both center-based and home-based program options. The grantee operates 27 centers and 19 migrant and home preschool family homes23 scattered over an area of 4,953 square miles in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, near Fresno, California. The area includes eight incorporated towns24 and large unincorporated and agricultural sections containing some of the most intensive farming in the United States.
The Tulare County program receives funding for its direct services from Head Start's Region IX, Head Start's Migrant Program Division, and the California Department of Education. These resources allow it to support the following part-day program options:
- Part-day Head Start (including either a home-based or center-based option, the latter for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 863 children, aged 3 to 5;
- Head Start home preschool (4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 18 3- to 5-year-olds in two day care homes; and
- A part-day center-based program funded by a state preschool contract (4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year) for 420 children, aged 3 to 5, who are collocated with Head Start part-day children.
In addition, the program offers the following full-day program options:
- Migrant Head Start (10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 6 to 9 months a year) for 44 children, aged 0 to 5, in 17 family day care homes;
- Full-day Head Start (10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 230 days a year25) for 32026 children in a center-based program;
- Full-day (8 to 12 hours a day) state-funded General Child Care (GCC), for children of parents who are working or in training, for 150 pre-school aged children, including 12 toddlers (all of whom are collocated with Head Start children, except the toddlers); and
- A full-day summer program for 35 school-aged children (aged 5 to 13) funded by the California Department of Education.
In addition, 151 preschool-aged children receive a full-day program (following Head Start Program Performance Standards) that is funded for part of the day (4 hours) by Head Start and for the other part (4 to 8 hours) by state GCC.
Finally, the Tulare program operates a contract services department in which it brokers child care for approximately 1,060 children, under a nearly $3 million annual contract with the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), Federal Block Grant, and Title IV-A Federal child care program. Under this contract, Tulare matches parents eligible for these programs with one of over 300 licensed child care centers or homes in the community.
Agriculture continues to be the biggest industry in Tulare County, providing 29 percent of all jobs. Seasonal farm labor constitutes the primary occupation for the approximately 26 percent of the county's households who are living below the poverty level; 8,700 children in these households are age- and income-eligible for Head Start.27 Seventy-seven percent of Tulare's Head Start enrollment is Hispanic, 11 percent is white, eight percent is Asian, two percent is black, and over one percent is American Indian. Eighty percent of the program's children speak Spanish, and 60 percent of the program's staff is bilingual.