A Head Start for the 21st Century

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Abstract

Social and economic conditions since the creation of Head Start in 1965 have worsened. The stresses of economic restructuring in America and the pervasiveness of violence have severely eroded the capacity of many families to provide safe and caring homes in strong communities. The necessary adaptation of Head Start to these new conditions involves the essential linkage of early childhood and family support approaches with community economic development. This strategy must include a reappraisal of mental health paradigms that will enable children, youth, and families to be healthy and productive members of their neighborhoods and country. Although public support for Head Start remains strong, considerable rethinking about a Head Start for the 21st century is now occurring; results will affect the quality of life for the entire society.

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