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Early Education & Care Programs in Our Region

Virginia Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programs

Virginia offers a variety of program choices for early childhood care and education. Below you can learn more about each program and how they support families. Whether you want your child on the bus with a sibling, in a family day home, or need full-day and full year care, there are options to fit your needs. Learn what is unique about each program below.

Head Start

Head Start early childhood care and education programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way. Read more Read More

Early Head Start

EHS programs are designed to nurture healthy attachments between parent and child, and child and caregiver. Services encompass the full range of a family's needs from pregnancy through a child's third birthday. Read More Read More

Virginia Preschool Initiative

VPI is a program that distributes state funds to public schools and community-based organizations to provide high-quality preschool programs for at-risk three and/or four-year-olds not served by Head Start. Read more Read More

Mixed Delivery

The Mixed Delivery program provides publicly funded ECCE services in licensed, non-faith-based, private ECCE settings for eligible children. It funds full-day, year-round ECCE services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Read more Read More

Local Care & Family Day Homes

Child day centers are child day programs offeredโ€ฆ Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I think I am over income for free and reduced cost programs?

We encourage all families to apply. Many programs have an income limit but also have some room to accept over income families when the child has risk factors.

What is the difference between Head Start, Mixed Delivery, and VPI programs?

All publicly funded programs provide high quality care and are assessed using through the Virginia Quality Birth to 5 (VQB5) assessment called the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Ratings will be published in the fall of 2024 for families to review. In addition to offering high quality care, each program has unique features to help support their families. Some offer additional family supports while others may offer transportation or a longer day to meet the needs of your unique family.

What does it mean if my child is enrolled in a VQB5 participating site?

Any child care site that accepts public funds such as child care subsidy, military assistance, VPI funds, Early Head Start/ Head Start funds, or Mixed Delivery funds are required by law to participate in VQB5 to ensure ALL families have an opportunity to have their child in a High Quality Early Childhood Care and Education facility. It simply means that your childcare site is being monitored and supported by the Virginia Department of Education to ensure they offer high quality care.

Why are there so many personal questions on my preschool application?

Most publicly funded programs have income eligibility requirements, but are allowed to take a small percentage of children over that income threshold if they have locally established risk factors. The questions on the application are used to assess eligibility for programs and also connect you with the best program that provides supports and resources to benefit your family.