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Friends of Children and Families Inc. (FOCAF):  

  • Provides center-based Head Start services to 385 children and families in Ada and Elmore County.  Provides home-based Early Head Start services to 76 children and families in Ada and Elmore Counties. 
  • Receives a grant to provide these services.  The grant amount allows us to serve only 11.5% of eligible children and families in Ada and Elmore County.
  • Supports learning through play and by building strong relationships. We build on children’s strengths and individualize to meet their needs.
  • We promote social-emotional development, language and literacy development, early math and science concepts, and a positive attitude toward learning.
  • Collaborates with Local School Districts to provide services in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities. 
  • We promote physical development and health.  We serve two meals a day to children (breakfast and lunch or lunch and snack).
  • Completes developmental, social-emotional, hearing, vision, and growth screenings on all children within 45 days of enrollment.
  • We help families identify and reach goals around employment, training, health, parenting, housing, and community resources.  We build on each family’s strengths and individualize to help them reach their goals. 
  • Believes families are their child’s first and most important teacher.
  • Is governed by a Board of Directors and Policy Council.  The Policy Council is made up of parents in the program.


In the 2016-2017 school year: 

  • The majority of children served, lived in two parent households. 
  • About 30% of children in Head Start and 50% of children in Early Head Start were Dual Language Learners.  There were 19 different languages spoken at FOCAF. 
  • 45% of our families had at least some college. 
  • 19 homeless families found secure housing.  
  • Attendance was 88% for the year.
  • 39 children received their special education services in a FOCAF classroom. 53 children with an Individual Education Program (IEP) attended a Head Start classroom and a School District classroom.  20 children in Early Head Start received services for an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) through the Infant/Toddler Program.
  • More than 90% of children had or found a medical home and had a well child exam completed.
  • More than 90% of children had or found a dental home and had a dental exam completed.
  • 46% of our children were transported to and from school on a FOCAF bus.
  • Provided families opportunities to increase their knowledge, including providing parenting classes and Cooking Matters classes to families at no charge.


Children who attend Early Head Start and/or Head Start:

  • The Head Start Impact Study found Head Start children scored better than a control group of children in all measured domains of cognitive and social-emotional development. (U.S. Departments of       Health and Human Services, 2010) 
  • Head Start children have better social skills, impulse control, and approaches to learning. (Aikens et al., 2013) 
  • Obese, overweight, or underweight children who participate in Head Start have a significantly healthier BMI by kindergarten entry. (Lumeng et al., 2015)  
  • Mortality rates for 5- to 9-year-old children who had attended Head Start are 33 to 50 percent lower than the rates for comparable children who were not enrolled in Head Start. (Ludwig and Miller, 2007)  
  • Head Start children have a higher likelihood of graduating high school, attending college, and receiving a post-secondary degree, license, or certification. (Bauer and Schanzenbach, 2016) 
  • Exploring the evidence on lasting effects of Head Start for children and society both from and beyond the Head Start Impact Study shows the long-term effects and benefit-cost ratio of Head Start. (Karoly and Auger, 2016)  
  • Early Head Start parents offer more stimulating home environments, read more with children, use less physical punishment, and have higher levels of self-sufficiency. (Love et al., 2002) 
  • Head Start parents are more likely to increase their educational levels during their children's early years than other at-risk parents. (Sabol and Chase-Lansdale, 2014) 
  • Head Start parents invest more time in learning activities with their children, and non-resident fathers spend more days per month with their children. Gelber and Isen, 2011) 
  • Head Start graduates report investing more in their own children; their children benefited from more positive parenting practices. Head Start graduates spent more teaching their own children numbers, letters, colors, and shapes, more time praising their children, showed their children more physical affection, spent more time doing the child’s favorite activities, and reported spanking their children less. (Bauer and Schanzenbach, 2016) 



Aikens, N., Kopack Klein, A., Tarullo, L. & W est, J. (2013). Getting Ready for Kindergarten: Children’s Progress During Head Start. FACES 2009 Report. OPRE Report 2013-21a. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Bauer, L. and D. W. Schanzenbach, (2016) The Long-Term Impact of the Head Start Program. The Hamilton Project, the Brookings Institution. 

Gelber, A, and A. Isen. National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011, December). Children's Schooling and Parents' Behavior: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study (Working Paper No. 17704). Cambridge, MA: 

Green, B.L., Ayoub, C., Bartlett, J.D., Von Ende, A., Furrer, C., Chazan-Cohen, R., Vallotton, C. & Klevens, J. (2014) The Effect of Early Head Start on Child Welfare System Involvement: A First Look at Longitudinal Child Maltreatment Outcomes, Children and Youth Services Review. 

Karoly, L. A. and A. Auger. Informing Investments in Preschool Quality and Access in Cincinnati: Evidence of Impacts and Economic Returns from National, State, and Local Preschool Programs. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2016. 

Love, J. M., Kisker, E. E., Ross, C. M., Schochet, P. Z., Brooks-Gunn, J., Paulsell, D., Boller, K., Constantine, J., Vogel, C., Sidle Fuligni, A., Brady-Smith, C. (2002). Making a difference in the lives of infants and toddlers and their families: The impacts of early Head Start. Volumes I-III: Final technical report and appendixes and local contributions to understanding the programs and their impacts. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. 

Ludwig, J. and Miller, D. (2007). Does Head Start improve children’s life chances? Evidence from a regression discontinuity design. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122, 159-208. 

Lumeng, J., Kaciroti, N., Sutrza, J., Krusky, A.M., Miller, A. L., Peterson, K. E., Lipton, R., & Reischl, T.M. (2015). Changes in Body Mass Index Associated with Head Start Participation. Pediatrics, 135(2): 1-8. 

Sabol, T.J. and Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2014). The Influence of Low-Income Children's Participation in Head Start on Their Parents' Education and Employment. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. doi: 10.1002/pam.21799 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2010). Head Start Impact Study: Final Report. Washington, DC.