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Head Start Endures, Evolves as 50-Year Milestone Nears

Few other federal programs so fully embody the heady optimism and charge-ahead spirit of the War on Poverty as Head Start, envisioned 50 years ago as part of that sweeping presidential initiative and brought to life in the summer of 1965.

But the seeds of questions that Head Start has faced throughout its history were in many ways contained in its ambitious beginning.

Launched as an eight-week demonstration program with more than half a million children, Project Head Start would be expanded to a full-year program three months later. Over its nearly half-century in existence, the program has touched more than 31 million infants, toddlers, and other young children by wrapping them and their families in social, educational, and health supports intended to put them on a path out of poverty.