Championing Diversity and Excellence in Early Childhood Education

Championing Diversity and Excellence in Early Childhood Education

Southern Oregon Child and Family Council, Inc. (SOCFC) has provided services to families facing economic hardships in Jackson and Josephine counties for over 50 years, in Jackson County since 1967 and Josephine County since 1989. SOCFC is the home of Southern Oregon Head Start. Children will enter school healthy, ready to learn, and with age-appropriate skills by participating in Southern Oregon Head Start and Early Head Start (SOHS). SOHS supports family well-being, nurturing relationships between children and parents, and encourages lifelong learning.

Services That Touch Lives

We believe in creating a space where open dialogue is encouraged, and everyone is heard. Transparent Respectful Communication is one of our fundamental values. This transparency builds trust and understanding, where our staff communicates clearly and respects our family’s perspectives. Our doors are open to all, and we embrace the rich diversity each family brings to our community. The safety of the children and families we serve is our utmost priority. 

At Southern Oregon Head Start, we embody teamwork, integrity, and accountability, ensuring a seamless blend of learning and growth that recognizes and celebrates every family’s strengths and potential. Southern Oregon Head Start is not just a head start in education; it’s a head start in life.

Reinforcing Our Team Excellence

“The Early Head Start Program has changed our lives. It has given him a caring, safe, fun, and loving place to learn and grow as an individual. It has also allowed me to better myself as well”- Early Head Start Parent, 2023. 

In our ongoing journey to foster a nurturing and inclusive environment, SOHS has partnered with Paradigm. This partnership provides an expansive training program centered around our core values, focusing on Integrity and Accountability. Through interactive workshops and hands-on experiences, our team delves deep into nuanced learning, enhancing their understanding and skill set in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. We are fostering a community where individuals are not just educators but guides, mentors, and nurturers, fully prepared to support every child in their journey of growth and learning. 

Vision For the Future

As we stand on the threshold of a promising future, Southern Oregon Head Start envisions a community where every child is afforded the golden opportunity to blossom in an environment that is understanding, respectful, and provides unconditional support. Our commitment goes beyond education; we are creating a space of inclusivity where diversity is accepted and celebrated, and every individual is nurtured to unfold their fullest potential. 

We’re Still Enrolling for the 2nd Half of the Year!

We’re Still Enrolling for the 2nd Half of the Year!

Our Southern Oregon Head Start, Early Head Start, and Preschool Promise programs are free to qualifying families, and we still have room for more children this school year

Whether you’re in need of childcare for your infant or toddler, or a school-readiness setting for your 2 to 5 year old, Head Start programs offer a creative, nurturing, and health-focused environment for your little one to grow and learn.

Our services include free early childhood education, infant and toddler childcare, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, health screenings, and mental health support services. At all Southern Oregon Head Start centers, ​​we support learning through play, creative expression, and guided activities.

Wondering which program to choose for your child?

  • Head Start serves 3 to 4 year olds with half-day, full-day, or duration (6-7 hour) classes
  • Early Head Start serves 0 to 2 to year olds with full-time or part-time care
  • Preschool Promise serves 3 to 5 year olds getting ready for kindergarten with full-day care

You can visit our Locations page to virtually tour our 27 locations throughout Jackson and Josephine counties, and see the programs available at each. If you have questions, you can contact a center directly at the phone number listed, or call our main office at (541) 734-5150.

Frequently Asked Head Start Enrollment Questions

For those who have questions about joining our Head Start programs or whether your family qualifies to enroll (our services are available to ALL), we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked parent questions. Once you’re ready, you can apply to Southern Oregon Head Start online anytime!

Who can enroll in Southern Oregon Head Start?

While many of the families we serve are low-income, our preschool and childcare services are available to all. If you qualify, these services are free. Families who receive public assistance (TANF or SSI), and those with children in foster care or children who are homeless, also qualify for free enrollment regardless of income.

What is the application process?

We have an easy online application available in English and Spanish. It takes about five minutes to fill out, and then we’ll contact you about setting up an interview. During the interview, we may request documents (such as foster child placement or proof of certain public assistance). 

Then, we work on getting you set up with the best-fit available program. We do not accept new children or families on the spot — instead, your name will be added to a waitlist while we use this time to make arrangements and follow-up with families if more communication or documentation is needed.

We run reports regularly to determine which programs have openings, and who the next children on the waitlist are. We will contact you when there is opening, and your child is next on the waitlist. 

Which preschool and childcare programs are currently enrolling?

Right now, we have space in our Head Start (ages 3-4), Early Head Start (ages 2-3) and Preschool Promise (ages 3-5) programs. You can pop over to our Locations page to virtually visit our 27 center sites, and see which programs are available at each.

Can I choose which location to enroll my child(ren) in?

Yes! You are welcome to choose the center you would like to enroll your children in. We invite families to choose one location for Early Head Start. For Head Start, families may choose one duration (full-day) program and one part-day program.

Is there an application deadline?

No. You can enroll your child anytime, though at a certain point each spring we stop accepting applications for the current school year, and transition to accepting applications for the following school year. If you’re interested in enrolling your child for the current school year (through June 2022), we encourage you to apply soon!

Do I have to reapply to Head Start each year?

Once you’re enrolled in Southern Oregon Head Start, there’s no need to reapply. However, if you’ve applied with us and your child is still not enrolled for any reason, you would need to reapply each year in the future to update your income information.

Are there a minimum number of hours or attendance requirements?

We encourage all families to meet 90% minimum attendance. This helps both families and children practice good attendance habits for when they move on to kindergarten and grade school.


If you still have questions about the application process or any of our Head Start programs, please be in touch! You can also visit our Parents corner of the website for information about daily menus, events, parent involvement opportunities, and more.

Southern Oregon Head Start Organized a Covid 19 Vaccine Clinic for Staff and Community Members

Southern Oregon Head Start Organized a Covid 19 Vaccine Clinic for Staff and Community Members


The health and safety of families and staff is the number one priority for Southern Oregon Head Start. Staff members from different departments collaborated, and gathered a group of volunteers, and worked out the logistics to organize a Drive Through COVID 19 Vaccine Clinic. It was a rewarding effort for the guests that got vaccinated, as well as the volunteers.  Laurie Hester our Safety & Compliance Manager talks about the experience:

Lisa Farlin, Head Start Director, assisting guest during the clinic

Katherine Clayton, Head Start Executive Director, assisting Dixie Ramsay, Head Start Nurse, administering vaccines 

Everyone did such an incredible job making this historic event run so smoothly.  My heart was touched by the willingness of everyone coming together for the health of our staff, community organizations staff, and others who  could not yet receive the vaccine.

What started as an idea through a conversation Dixie had with Dr. Sarah of the Child and Adolescent Clinic in Medford, took off like the speed of sound with Kathy Stassi contacting and scheduling staff, Michael’s ideas on the flow, and providing shelter while ensuring safety; Sarah Forga jumping in with her usual “can do, lightning speed” attitude and effort regarding all the admin paperwork process; Lisa jumped in to get the press coverage and stayed until the last person waited their 15 minutes to ensure they were safe to leave; Steve, Lonnie, and Sadiki set up and took down the pop up tent, tables, cones and stood in the parking lot for 5 hours to ensure safety, Kat arrived early for the TV interview and stayed, jumping in to do anything needed, and the group of volunteers (Faith, Kelley, Shelbey, Sherry, Yoana, Nancy) who greeted arrivals, processed paperwork, helped with set up and clean up (in the rain!), Yoana’s willingness when asked a the last minute to provide interpretive services; Jeremy Cathy a Family Nurse Practitioner agreeing  to spend his day off to help his mother in law, Dixie; and Amy Hensley arriving to help and promote the importance in staff receiving the vaccine.

What an awesome day to always remember!

Laurie Hester

Safety & Compliance Manager

Faith Cox, Food Service Manager, and Sherry Whaley, Health Screener, getting ready to asist guests

Katherine Clayton, Executive Director, and Laurie Hester, Safety and Compliance Manager, directing guests to the parking area

Sherry Whaley, and Shelby Jasper getting ready to help guests with consent forms

Cooks Have Clever Way to Stay in Touch

Cooks Have Clever Way to Stay in Touch

The Cooks at ABC-B: Marina, Debbie, Brittany and Ada, put together a clever and creative way to stay in touch with their Classroom 2-Duration students: This fun mailbox! Chealsea White, TA, reports that the kids send in questions and love getting a response from the Cooks!


2019 Best Daycare / Preschool Winner

2019 Best Daycare / Preschool Winner

We are honored to be recognized as the 2019 Best Daycare/Preschool in Southern Oregon by readers and voters of the Mail Tribune!

About the “Best of the Best”

Each year, Mail Tribune readers choose the “Best of the Best” throughout the Rogue Valley, highlighting their favorite restaurants, healthcare providers, entertainment, schools, retailers, community leaders and more (102 categories in 2019!). Once nominations are collected –12,000 total this year — readers are invited to vote on their favorites in each category, and those winners are announced at the annual “Best of the Best” gala at Inn at the Commons in Medford. This year, 138,000 votes were cast to select the 2019 winners — a record in “Best of the Best” history. We’re honored and grateful to be chosen during a year when the Southern Oregon community came out in droves to celebrate their favorites.

Thank You Mail Tribune Readers

We want to send a big “thank you!” to those of you who cast your vote for Southern Oregon Head Start. Your support and recognition means to world to us, and we’ll continue doing our best in 2020 to provide the very best childcare and resources to families in need throughout Southern Oregon. We’re thankful for our exceptional teams of teachers, caregivers, specialists, managers, assistants, and volunteers at all our locations throughout Southern Oregon. We are fortunate to work with the most caring, talented, creative and diverse group of people who work together to better the lives of children and families in our community.

Join the Southern Oregon Head Start Family

If you are interested in joining the Southern Oregon Head Start Team, start by visiting our Careers page and apply online! And if you’d like more information about enrolling your child at one of our Southern Oregon Head Start locations, visit our Programs page to learn more.

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