Head Start Services

Capital Area Head Start - It takes a community to raise a child

Children learn something new every day! Their early years are full of growth and development. Capital Area Head Start (CAHS) gives children a head start in life, empowers parents, and strengthens families.

A program of Keystone Human Services, CAHS has been providing services for children and families in Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry Counties in Pennsylvania since 1988. Our Head Start pre-kindergarten programs are comprehensive, state and federally-funded child development programs serving children ages 3-5. Our Early Head Start program serves children ages birth to three and women who are pregnant.

Preparing Children and Families for Success


Child Development Activities

Early Learning GPS

Parent and Student Info

Our goal is to prepare children and families for success in school and life. Parents are a child’s first and foremost teachers, and we encourage parents to take an active role in their child’s learning and development.

Our programs are designed to increase children’s literacy, cognitive development, and social-emotional development, as well as support children’s health and well-being. Every child receives comprehensive services, including educational, medical, dental, nutritional, and family social services.

We also connect families with local resources that they can continue to use after their child has transitioned to kindergarten.

Start the Application Process Today!

Applications for the 2024-2025 school year are available! Are you pregnant or do you have a child age 0-5? You may be eligible for free Head Start or Early Head Start services. Call 717-541-1795 to learn more and enroll.

More Details

Early Head Start
Head Start

Early Head Start (EHS) provides comprehensive home-based services to pregnant women and children from birth through age three. Our program focuses on healthy prenatal outcomes, and enhances the development of infants and toddlers.

Our home-based program is offered in Harrisburg and Carlisle in Pennsylvania. A home visitor visits each family weekly for an hour and a half to support the child’s learning and development and encourage positive parent-child relationships. Families also receive information about community resources.

Pregnant women participate in weekly visits that focus on prenatal care, delivery, postnatal care, and care of their newborn.

Families attend two family socialization days each month.


Our Head Start program provides pre-kindergarten for children ages 3-5, including educational, health, nutritional, social, and other services. Each center provides meals and a safe learning environment.

Parents play a central role in their children’s learning and school readiness, as well as the administration of the program. Parents also receive support to pursue their own educational, literacy, and employment goals.

Centers are located in Dauphin, Perry, and eastern Cumberland Counties, as well as Carlisle, PA.

Families in a temporary living situation or foster families are given priority to enroll in Head Start.



Head Start and Early Head Start Offer Comprehensive Services

  • Research-based curricula and assessments
  • Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program, a social-emotional curriculum that promotes age appropriate social and problem-solving skills
  • Nutrition education for children and families
  • Meals in all programs to provide one- to two-thirds of children’s daily nutritional requirements, including breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Social service supports for families through the teacher, home visitors, family support specialists and social services coordinators
  • Partnerships with parents, promoting school readiness of their children
  • Promoting diversity and positive, inclusive classrooms for all children
  • Prevention, screening and referral, and inclusion support services for children with physical, language, speech, vision, hearing or mental health needs
  • Preventative health services, including assistance in acquiring health insurance, finding a medical home, and obtaining children’s physicals, immunizations and dental health care before the child enters public school

2019-2020 Annual Accomplishments