With the “baby boom” came a need for children and family services, especially of those families living at or below the poverty line. Of children living in rural poverty, 50% failed to complete the 8th grade (Humphrey, 1964). Unfortunately, most of this poverty was completely hidden to the middle and upper classes until the early 60s, when awareness began to emerge (Vinovskis, 2005).
One in six of the nation’s children lived in poverty (Humphrey, 1964).
In John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, he promised social reform in the areas of education and medical insurance (Jansson, 2015). After Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963, his vice president Lyndon B. Johnson announced his plans to create a “great society” in his state of the union address given on January 8, 1964 (Head Start: An Office of the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge, 2015). Johnson believed that providing education was key to fighting poverty (Head Start: An Office of the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge, 2015).
The Economic Opportunities Act of 1964 was passed, which created the Office of Economic Opportunities in the Executive Office, which was directed by Sargent Shriver (Economic Opportunities Act of 1964). This allowed President Johnson to mobilize the United States’ resources in order to launch his war on poverty, which included poverty relief programs such as Job Corps, Vista, Urban/Rural Community, Community Action Agencies, and Project Head Start (California Health and Human Services Agency, 2015).
California Health and Human Services Agencies (2015). History. Retrieved from http://www.csd.ca.gov/AboutUs/History.aspx
Humphrey, H. H. (1964). War on poverty. Toronto, New York, McGraw-Hill (1964).
Head Start: An Office of the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge (2015). Head Start Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ohs/about/history-of-head-start