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Head Start

National Head Start

Head Start is a national program administered by the Office of Head Start within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Head Start programs provide comprehensive services for low-income children from birth to entry into kindergarten.

Head Start currently receives more than $6.8 billion in funds and serves more than 906,000 low-income children and families nationwide. The program is child-centered, family-focused, comprehensive, and community-based. Head Start services are designed to address developmental goals for children, employment and self-sufficiency goals for adults, and support for parents in their work and child-caring roles.

Head Start is a direct federal-to-local program administered by more than 1,600 locally based public or private organizations (called "grantees") across the country.

In Pennsylvania, 36 Early Head Start grantees provide services to 4,156 children from birth to age 3 or to pregnant women. Children age 3 to entry into elementary school receive Head Start services from 49 grantee agencies. Federal funds provide 27,960 children with Head Start Services.

For more information about Head Start or to search for the nearest program visit:

PA PKC/HSSAP Advisory Committee 

Head Start Supplemental Assistance program

For future consideration in Requests for Applications, agencies must possess the following:

Vendor Number (SAP Number)

A vendor number can be established by registering at http://www.vendorregistration.state.pa.us/cvmu/paper/DefaultInvoice.aspx

All agencies applying for HSSAP funding must be pre-registered. If you have any questions about vendor numbers, please contact Brian Bell in PDE’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning at (717) 346-0038.

AUN Number

All HSSAP applicants will need to supply a valid AUN number within the REQUIRED Letter of Intent. To verify your AUN number or to check to see if you have one assigned to your agency, click here. If you are an intermediate unit, select Search for Intermediate Units. If you are not an intermediate unit, select Advanced Search and search for your agency.

Applicants that are not already licensed by PDE, and therefore do not have an AUN number, should contact Brian Bell in the Office of Child Development and Early Learning at (717) 346-0038.

Master Provider Index Number

All HSSAP applicants will need a Master Provider Index (MPI) number as part of the application process. MPI numbers are used across the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to identify legal entities and service locations that participate in any of their programs. As such, they are used in DHS’s data system as a common identifier for all of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s (which is a joint office between PDE and DHS) programs, including Child Care Licensing, Early Intervention, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program and Keystone STARS.

Legal entities are assigned a unique 9-digit MPI number. In addition, service locations are assigned a unique 13-digit MPI number, which is created by adding a 4-digit extension to the 9-digit MPI of the legal entity. Legal entities and service providers currently participating in any of these programs should have an MPI number.

Applicants that are not currently participating in any of these programs should contact the Early Learning Network (ELN) Help Desk at (877) 491-3818 and provide their Federal Tax ID to determine their MPI numbers. MPI numbers will not be able to be provided without a Federal Tax ID. If an MPI is not identified a request form will need to be completed.

Tax ID Number or Federal ID Number

This is the number that an agency uses on its federal W-9 form. Applicants for HSSAP funds should consult with the person who handles tax, legal or accounting matters for the agency to determine the federal ID number when you check on your legal name and address.

For questions contact PDE by sending an email to RA-PAPreKCounts@pa.gov.

quick links


Early Head Start 

OCDEL is a Federal Early Head Start Grantee.  By working with 2 direct service partners, OCDEL provides 128 Early Head Start slots through Home-based service delivery options to pregnant women, infants and toddlers form low income families.  Counties served include Lawrence and Lebanon Counties.

Early Head Start serves income eligible pregnant women, infants and toddlers through their 3rd birthday.  For more information on OCDEL's Early Head Start program contact Tracey Campanini, 717-346-9324 or trcampanin@pa.gov.

Click Here for the Commonwealth of PA, OCDEL Early Head Start FY12 Report to the Public

Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO)

The PA HSSCO is located at the PA Key in Harrisburg. Click here for more information.



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