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The National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA) is made up of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Directors, Staff, Parents, and Friends that meets regularly to discuss issues and concerns unique to Migrant and Seasonal Head Start children and their families.

Migrant and seasonal farm workers work in various sectors of our nation’s agriculture industry – from harvesting to sorting to processing and everything in between. It is hard work and requires special skills. Most farm worker families earn less than $10,000/year and have no health benefits according to a study submitted to Congress in 2000 by the United States Department of Labor.


Migrant and Seasonal Head Start was a response to the needs of migrant farm worker families. In most states, local childcare resources are not available when migrants come into a community, especially for infants and toddlers. When resources are not available, parents have no choice but to take their children to the fields where they are exposed to pesticides, hazardous equipment, extreme heat and other health dangers.

Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs:

  • Have a work requirement for families—families must be employed in the field of agricultural
  • Serve nearly 35,000 migrant children and nearly 2,500 seasonal children annually
  • Operate in 40 states in every region of the country
  • Provide coordinated services to mobile families and children as they migrate from state to state
  • Are seasonal in nature providing services in some areas for 2 months and other areas for 10 months
  • Provide extended hours service, 12 hours a day, and often 6 days a week
  • 75% of enrolled children are between the ages of 0 and 3 years old
  • Have served migrant children and families since 1969
  • Have served seasonal children and families since 1999

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Mission Statement :

By advocating for resources, creating partnerships, and affecting public policy, we help member agencies provide quality comprehensive services to all farmworker children and their families.


Strategic Planning :

The NMSHSA has embarked on a strategic planning process in order to set a future direction for the Association through reducing risk, making thoughtful and sound decisions, and developing and integrating a common vision and set of goals for the organization. The Board of Directors recently identified the following priority areas for NMSHSA:

  • Advocacy
  • Professional Development
  • Organizational Capacity Building
         Association management

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