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Capital Area Head Start Overview

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A familiar name within Keystone Human Services, Capital Area Head Start is widely known in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties for providing comprehensive child development services to over 900 children ages birth to five. Serving primarily low-income families, we have over 20 community-based centers in urban, rural and suburban areas.

All children received educational, medical, dental and nutritional services to prepare them for public school and the world at large. Equally important, Head Start actively empowers parents, enhancing their personal competencies while increasing their access to social services, job training, GED completion or higher education and employment opportunities. Parent volunteerism in the classroom is part of our program’s extraordinary success.

Capital Area Head Start provides Early Head Start services, serving pregnant women and children from birth to three years of age. We have received a state grant to operate Pre-K Counts programming for three- and four-year-olds in the city of Harrisburg. To ensure that we are there for children when they need it most, we reach out to other vulnerable populations within our communities, and we have a unique program for children of families experiencing homelessness. Head Start’s warm, nurturing environment serves as a source of stability in the lives of young children who may be frequently uprooted during the school year. CAHS also provides support services for children whose parents are incarcerated.

Keystone is proud of Head Start’s innovative legacy and honors its pledge to respond to the ever-changing needs of families while empowering them to embrace the future with increased confidence and a renewed sense of hope.


Dauphin County has 16 locations:

  • 12 part day/school year
  • 4 home-based

Cumberland County has two locations:

  • One part day/school year
  • One home-based

Perry County has three locations:

  • Three home-based

Importance of CAHS in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties

  • Employs approximately 250 staff
  • Spends over $12,000,000 annually through employment, leasing of space, and purchase of goods and services
  • Brings needed federal funds into the area
  • Is governed by a local Board of Directors and by a parent Policy Council, so decisions about spending, staffing and program administration are made locally
  • Is a comprehensive, family-focused agency, working to impact parents’ and children’s health, education and development. CAHS connects families to services that provide them with new hope and opportunity by empowering them to make changes in their lives
  • Builds strong families, which builds strong communities
  • Advocates for children and families
  • Demonstrates significant educational outcomes for children in literacy, cognitive development and social-emotional development
  • Maintains 100% enrollment
  • Demonstrates significant health outcomes for children. Please view our Annual Accomplishments for more information.
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