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Head Start Logo - Square

Head Start

Community Action Program of Evansville, Indiana is a comprehensive preschool program serving low income children from birth to 5 years old.

We serve 660 children in Vanderburgh, Gibson, and Posey counties each year.

Head Start’s mission is to meet children’s needs so all children are ready for school.

As part of our efforts to ensure children start school ready to learn, Head Start provides health services; including oral health coordination.

Head Start Logo - Square

Early Head Start (EHS) provides services to families with children from birth to three (3) years old, and pregnant and teen mothers.

Services are comprehensive and families focused; support services for children with disabilities.

Early Head Start offers:

  • Quality childcare for families who meet eligibility criteria.
  • Warm, caring, safe & responsive environment
  • Program options available to meet individual family needs
  • Services provided to children with special needs
  • Support to pregnant women, expectant fathers & pregnant teens to meet personal goals
  • Foundation for developing social relationship, self confidence, security and character enhancement
  • Nutritious meals
  • Health screening & educational workshops/training
  • Career development
  • Volunteer & employment opportunities
  • Linkage to community services & resources
  • Transition into Head Start program


Through Practice Based Coaching we are able to increase school readiness gains for our children by using a cyclical process that involves classroom support for our teachers.

The cycle of Practice Based Coaching includes focused classroom observations, planning goals with teaching staff, and sharing/ reflecting on feedback about teaching strategies.

Each teacher is able to create a relationship with a Resource Coach that facilitates this process and provides resources to ensure classroom success for the children and teaching staff.

Children begin to explore and learn from their surroundings, pay attention, and follow directions. Early childhood mental health is the same as social-emotional development.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs partner with local professionals, Southwestern Behavioral healthcare, and other programs to ensure children, families, and staff have access to prevention and intervention services.


CAPE identifies and maintains relationships with agencies throughout the community that provide services to low-income customers, homeless families, families receiving public assistance and foster care.

Family Engagement

As their child’s first teacher, parents play an important role in preparing their child for school and for a lifetime of success.

The CAPE Head Start and Early Head Start program partners with families to offer assistance with this endeavor.

Our program provides opportunities for families to develop and strengthen relationships, form connections with peers and the community, set and reach their goals, build confidence and knowledge, advocate for their children, and participate in program decision making.

Parents are encouraged to participate in monthly parent meetings to interact with other parents and help plan activities in the program.

Parents are also encouraged to participate in Policy Council, volunteer in the classroom, self-assessment, and participate in the Male Initiative Program.

Some of the most exciting family engagement activities throughout the year include:

  • Family Bowling Night
  • Popcorn and a Movie
  • Costume Party
  • Sweetheart Dance
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Carnival
  • Family Fun Day (End of year celebration)


Head Start regulations require that at least 10 percent of children enrolled in both programs are children with disabilities.

Early/Head Start strives to screen and identify eligible children; providing high-quality, individualized instruction and much more! 

Once a child is diagnosed, services are carried out onsite or in the home to make it comfortable and convenient for both the child and their family.

Early intervention is the first step to getting the child the help they need to have a head start in school readiness.

Family Engagement Center

The Family Engagement Center mainly assists Head Start families but is open to the public.

Participants range in age and come from diverse backgrounds.

Family Literacy Services are provided in Vanderburgh County.

The Center Offers

  • Life Skills
  • Job Search Assistance
  • One-to-One Tutoring
  • Computer / Keyboarding Skills
  • Basic Math and Reading Skills
  • Family Literacy / Parent-Child Programs
  • High School Equivalency Test Prep

As a part of the Community Action Program of Evansville, the CAPE Family Engagement Center assists participants with emergency and social service needs through direct referral.

What to Expect from Your First Meeting

Upon arrival, each learner receives one-to-one guidance to assist individual needs and determine an educational plan.

Once a plan is established, center staff and volunteers help students toward and achieve their goal(s).

Much of the center’s emphasis is on building the learners’ self-esteem and confidence.

We motivate and assist the learner to create a vision for the future.

For More Information

Sharon Goldston
906 Main St.
Evansville, IN 47708
Phone: (812) 491-2129
Fax: (812) 402-3574

Fatherhood Program

The Fatherhood Program at CAPE Head Start invites Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, Big Brothers, Cousins or Family Friend to participate. The program is designed to continually  bring awareness to the value a Father figure can have on the life of a child.

Males are invited into the classrooms, on field trips, and to serve on committees throughout the agency. The males meet once a month at the Family Engagement Center in Vanderburgh County alongside scheduled parent meetings in Posey and Gibson Counties.

There are opportunities for male-only events, men and women, men and their child(ren) and males with their family and friends. Some events include the Annual Sweet Heart Dance, Read to Me Dad, football, baseball and golf outings, bowling, specially requested speakers, and an opportunity to share your gifts and talents.

Fathers play an invaluable and irreplaceable role in the development and lives of their children. Our staff is committed and looks forward to the positive impact you may have on the children and families we serve.


Receiving early health intervention is an important factor in educational success. Under the National Head Start program children are required to obtain the following health screening:  vision, hearing, speech, lead, a physical examination, and dental examination.

Early childhood mental health is a child’s (birth to 5 years) growing ability to experience, regulate, and express emotions. They learn to develop close, secure relationships with peers and caring adults. 

Children enrolled in the Head Start program are required to obtain the following health screenings within the established timelines:

  • Physical examination
  • Vision, hearing, blood pressure screening; can be done by staff
    • Within 45 days of enrollment
  • Dental examination
    • Within  90 days of enrollment

CAPE has implemented the Brush! program. Brush! Is a dental care program for children and families within the Head Start program.  This program involves a year-long oral health curriculum and support materials help your classroom talk about dental health while learning literacy, science, mathematics and creative arts. Aligned with HighScope Indicators and Head Start Domains, this curriculum meets the standards early learning sites are tasked with teaching.

An important component of Brush! is parent education
Parents are the drivers in whether their children brush their teeth, if they visit the dentist, and if they eat healthy foods. Brush! parent materials give easy to understand information on dental care, nutrition, the importance of family meals, and the importance of reading to their children.

Full-Day Option

This option is reserved for families who need childcare because they are working, going to school, or participating in training program for at least 25 hours per week.

If there are 2 parents in the household, both parents must meet the criteria to be eligible for this option.

The hours of operation varies by site, with services available for at least 10 hours per day.

Transportation is not provided.

Extended-Day Option

This option provides an extension of classroom time of six (6) hours per day. This option meets four (4) days per week.

The extended day allows longer days to engage in learning activities.

This option has been targeted for children who will be enrolling in kindergarten the following year.

Home-Based Option

In this option, a Home Visitor will come to your home weekly for 1.5 hours to support your role as a parent and to assist you in understanding your children’s growth and development.

In addition, monthly socialization activities are provided.

This option is currently available for Early Head Start only.

Double Session Option

Children will come to a classroom setting for a 3 1/2 hour session four (4) days per week in Vanderburgh, Gibson and Posey Counties.

Children 3-5 years of age may attend these sessions with transportation provided.

Part-Day Option

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CAPE offers comprehensive prenatal and postpartum health care, breastfeeding education, and prenatal education to the expectant mother.

When the mother has her baby, a home visit is completed with the Home Visitor and Health Nurse within two weeks of delivery and postpartum information is shared.

Staff ensures the mother has a medical and dental home.

This program option is a full year model.

Topics shared with the mother include, but are not limited to:

  • Fetal development
  • Risks of smoking/alcohol
  • Labor and delivery
  • Breastfeeding
  • Potential mental health issues
  • Nutrition
  • Postpartum recovery
  • Postpartum health care

School Readiness

Community Action Program of Evansville collaborates with families and the community to provide opportunities that promotes school readiness. 

These experiences strengthen the child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive abilities.

School readiness starts at infancy since positive early relationships enhance later outcomes. 

We strive to provide an interpersonal relationship that is warm and loving to each child and ongoing support to parents as their first and most important teacher.

CAPE Head Start has developed School Readiness Goals that are aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, Indiana Foundations, Parent Expectations, and School Expectations. 

We utilize the Creative Curriculum to plan and individualize for each child.

Collaboration & Partnerships

American Cancer Society

Anthem Community Resources Committee

CAPE Foster Grandparents Program

Carver Community Center

Christian Life Center

Deaconess Women's Hospital


Evansville Housing Authority

Evansville Rescue Mission

Evansville Tri-State Affiliate of Susan G. Komen


House of Bread and Peace

Indiana Minority Health Coalition

Ivy Tech

Ozanam Family Shelter

Patchwork Central

Purdue Extension

Smoke-Free Communities

University of Southern Indiana

Vanderburgh County Health Department

Welborn Baptist Foundation

American Cancer Society

Anthem Community Resources Committee

CAPE Foster Grandparents Program

Carver Community Center

Christian Life Center

Deaconess Women’s Hospital


Evansville Housing Authority

Evansville Rescue Mission/YCC

Evansville Tri-State Affiliate of Susan G. Komen


House of Bread and Peace

Indiana Minority Health Coalition

Ivy Tech

Ozanam Family Shelter

Patchwork Central

Purdue Family Nutrition

Smoke-Free Communities

University of Southern Indiana

Vanderburgh County Health Dept.

Welborn Baptist Foundation

Funding Sources

Head Start Grant

On My Way Pre-K will award grants to four-year-olds from low-income families, so that they may have access to a high-quality Pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten.

Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K Program.