Puget Sound ESD is a Regional School District that does not directly operate any programs. Rather, its 21 center-based Head Start sites and 10 family child care homes are managed through contracts with school districts, community and technical colleges, licensed family child care homes, and other organizations. The grantee agency employs a staff of coordinators and managers who provide program planning and development, training, and technical assistance. In 1994, Puget Sound served a total of 1,264 Head Start children and 1,700 children in its state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which is similar to Head Start.
Puget Sound's service area includes all of King County, except for the city of Seattle, and all of Pierce County, except for the city of Tacoma. This geographically large service area (including, urban, suburban, and rural communities) has experienced rapid population growth and increasing diversity since 1980. Today, the overall demographic profile of the population served is about 60 percent white, 20 percent African American, 10 percent Asian, 8 percent Hispanic and 2 percent Native American, with varying demographics across the service area, and with 23 languages represented among Head Start children. Over 60 percent of the families served are on AFDC, but only a small percentage of these families has been on welfare for a long time. The average Head Start family income in 1993 was $8,807.
In 1989, Puget Sound received a five-year grant from ACYF to operate a Comprehensive Child Development Program (CCDP), which enrolls families with children from 0 to 5 years of age and offers them an array of family support services. In 1993, the grantee received a three-year grant from Head Start for a demonstration program serving homeless families living in transitional housing — a program providing full-day/full-year services and transportation to children ages 0 to 4. Using the family child care model, this program provides Head Start and augmented services to meet the needs of homeless families.