Options for Full-Day Services for Children Participating in Head Start . History of the Full-Day Program


The history of the program's full-day services dates to the program's first year of service in 1965. At that time, the program operated under the auspices of a community action program (CAP). The director of the CAP (a local rancher) surveyed a group of low-income parents in the community in 1965, and asked them what kind of child care they needed. Then, as now, both parents in farm labor families worked in the fields for a 12-hour day during the peak harvest season to earn enough money for the family to live on for the rest of the year. These parents asked the CAP director for full-day child care, which he funded through a combination of Head Start and non-Head Start Federal migrant money (Head Start migrant funds were not yet available). The program later received a relatively small amount of Head Start migrant funding and Head Start full-day funding as well.

Full-day services, however, were provided to a much larger group of children when the Head Start program transferred (in 1967) from CAP auspices to those of the Tulare County public schools. The county schools were able to obtain additional wraparound funding (in 1972) from the California Department of Education to subsidize the regular half-day Head Start program. These new General Child Care (GCC) and State Preschool (SPS) funds had been available in California since 1945, when many women supporting the war effort went to work in the California shipyards.