Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area

School Readiness Starts Here

What is Head Start?

Head Start is a Federal program for pre-K children ages 3 to 5.  To apply for Head Start children must be 3 years old for the current session or be 3 years old by July 31st for the next session which begins in August of each year.  Call us: at any of our site locations, where we can take an application.   

What is Early Head Start?

Early Head Start is a Federal program that provides comprehensive services to promote family and child development for prenatal moms and children birth - 3 years old.  To apply for Early Head Start you must be a pregnant woman or a have a child under 29 months of age. Applications can be taken in-person or by phone at any of our site locations, listed above.

  • Call:  1-833-718-0352, select 6
  • Email:  For a Head Start or Early Head Start
  • Call Any Site Location:  Speak with a staff person who will be able to help you with your application.
  • For Required Documentation: Take pictures of required documentation with your phone, then email them to the person you completed the application with over the phone; drop them by one of the site locations or use our drop box.
  • Lock Drop Box:  Joplin's Central office, 302 S. Joplin, Joplin, MO.  Please don't leave originals of your documents in the box.

What documentation is required for the application:

Head Start/Early Head Start:

  • Proof of the child’s birth; birth certificate, hospital record, or Medicaid card.

  • Proof of income for the previous calendar year; 1040-tax form, W-2 form(s), pay stub(s), unemployment, workman’s compensation, veteran’s benefits, alimony, child support, military pay, social security, or documentation of current public assistance, Temporary Assistance, SNAP, or Supplemental Security Income.  For Income Guidelines:

  • A current doctor’s immunization record.  (Child must be up-to-date on immunizations for the center-based program).

Did you know......  Head Start/Early Head Start serves children & families that are homeless?  See descriptions below to see if you qualify.

The term "homeless children and youth" means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and includes:

(i) Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals.

(ii) Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.