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Early Head Start


The United Way of Acadiana Early Head Start Program provides quality early childhood education – at no cost.

The Center-Based program option provides full-day early childhood education, along with meals and snacks.

Our quality of care includes individualized learning plans for each child and the low staff-child ratio provides children with strong attachments and builds their self-esteem.

Our Home-Based option provides services to children and pregnant women – in their homes – that support parents in nurturing their child’s development.

To be eligible to receive EHS services, you must:

  • Reside in Vermilion Parish or in 70501, 70503, 70506 and 70507 zip codes in Lafayette Parish
  • Meet Federal Poverty Income Guidelines
  • For Home-Based services, a child must be living with a parent or guardian who is available to meet for 90 minutes each week in the home

For more information on qualifications or enrollment, please call Lauren Naquin at 337.233.8302 x 212.


About the Program.

United Way of Acadiana Early Head Start (UWA EHS) serves 103 children from birth to 3 years of age and pregnant women. The program operates two (2) centers that are located in the city of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish, serving 28 children, and in the city of Lafayette in Lafayette Parish, serving 36 children. The remaining 39 slots serve families through the home-based option providing services for pregnant women, infants and toddlers in either parish.

Children and families enroll in either the center-based or the home-based option according to the priority rating criteria approved by the UWA EHS Policy Council and governing board.  Our priority rating criteria prioritizes placement of children with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness and children in foster care.  To read more about each program, please click here.


The Head Start Advantage – A National Snapshot.

When Head Start was first launched in 1965, the idea of providing comprehensive health, nutrition and educational services to children in poverty was revolutionary, if not radical. The Head Start Model developed over the decades has been built on evidence-based practices and is constantly adapting – using the best available science and teaching techniques to meet the needs of local communities.

Every day, Early Head Start programs provide essential services to hundreds of thousands of children from birth to age 3.  We partner with countless parents, teachers and community members to understand how we can support them and their communities.  And together, all of us are creating meaningful, measurable change.

Research shows that Early Head Start delivers a clear advantage for students who participate in our program as they prepare for kindergarten and beyond.  Here are some of the immediate impacts of the Head Start initiative.  These impacts appear immediately, last a lifetime, and even benefit the subsequent generation.

On top of that, parents of Early Head Start children who we partner with are more likely to read with their children, continue their own education, and be strong advocates for their children’s education.  Results like these aren’t something we take lightly.  They are a reflection of our commitment and confirmation that Early Head Start matters!

4,579,312 children age 0-5 live in poverty.

1,053,196 reflects the total number of children aged 0-5 served by Head Start in 2017.