As our country deals with crises such as promoting child safety and well-being, managing infectious disease, and addressing the opioid epidemic—as well as helping prepare for and respond to natural disasters—support for health, behavioral health, and safety have never been more vital. Children and families served by Head Start and Early Head Start programs are especially vulnerable to and disproportionately impacted by these health crises and existing health disparities.

To address this need, EDC and Georgetown University are leading the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety. With funding from the Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care, the Center provides practical, high-quality, evidence-informed training and technical assistance (TTA) and resources to enhance the wellness of children, families, and staff.

Key Activities

Building on more than 40 years of EDC’s work leading national, regional, and local Head Start programs, the project team is carrying out the following activities:

  • Build the capacity of Head Start and early childhood programs to address poor social determinants of health that negatively impact children and families
  • Provide effective TTA that guides Head Start health, mental health, and nutrition services staff in providing high-quality services to children and families
  • Develop and disseminate user-friendly, culturally responsive resources on emergency preparedness, trauma-informed care, disease prevention, injury prevention, oral health, nutrition, and more
  • Foster collaboration among diverse stakeholders—including health and mental health care providers—to connect children and families to resources that meet their needs


  • Assist Head Start programs to deliver culturally and linguistically responsive health and behavioral health services to over 154,000 families who are served annually in 1,700 Head Start programs
  • Promote the healthy development and school readiness of over 1 million Head Start children in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. territories, American Indian and Alaska Native communities, as well as migrant and seasonal worker communities
  • Respond to thousands of questions on health, behavioral health, and safety from the early childhood community through the management of our Infoline

Learn More

EDC Staff
Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care

Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors; Georgetown University; Illuminate Colorado; Center for Childhood Resilience, Lurie Children’s Hospital; National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center; National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education; Prevent Blindness; Pyramid Model Consortium; Sesame Workshop; University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Childcare Health Program; UCSF Child Trauma Research Program; and the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland