Head Start Community Program of Morris County has a 57-year history of meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children and families of the area with a wide array of culturally competent child development and family services. The Head Start Community Program of Morris County was founded in 1965 with a free summer program at the Lafayette School in Morristown for 45 economically disadvantaged children. It later expanded to offer free half- and full-day classes that meet throughout the traditional school year. In 1998, the program purchased and occupied a building in Dover that had formerly been a synagogue.
Enrollment climbed to 197 by the year 2000. A three-classroom addition to the Dover building was opened in 2004. In 2005, with the help of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the program’s Morristown site relocated from inside the Morristown Neighborhood House to a wing of the Morris View Nursing Home in Morris Township. Also in 2005, with the assistance of then Governor Codey and Senator Anthony Bucco, the program received a two-year State grant to add 40 more children to its enrollment. An Early Head Start grant award in 2010 enabled expansion of the service base to include expectant mothers and children from birth to 3 years of age, teaching skills to enhance the development of children and help these families achieve self-sufficiency.
The Head Start Community Program of Morris County, Inc. achieved a five-year NAEYC accreditation in 2006. In 2014, the program received notice of award eligibility for a noncompetitive five-year renewal grant. This achievement is reflective of the organization’s long record of successfully meeting or exceeding the Head Start Program Performance Standards, demonstrated through regular federal performance monitoring. That same year, Head Start became a participant in Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s pilot program for a state Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education programs. With the start of the 2017-2018 school year, a major construction project was completed. Two state-of-the-art classrooms were added to the building, as well as sinks for all existing classrooms, additional bathroom facilities, and upgraded security. To this day, the program maintains a significant waiting list each year, indicating the community’s ever-increasing need for the services provided by the Head Start Community Program of Morris County.