Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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Community Action Corner
Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois on the Web

Community Action obtains Early Head Start expansion grant

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[December 22, 2009]  As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Early Head Start expansion dollars were made available earlier this year. Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois took advantage of the opportunity and completed the grant application process in July. The agency announced Monday that it has successfully obtained a grant to provide home-based Early Head Start services to 80 children in central Illinois.

The Early Head Start program is for low-income infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families. It is an extension of the Head Start program that provides preschool education to 338 3- to 5-year-olds throughout Community Action's six-county service area. The expanded program will be operated in DeWitt, Fulton, Logan, Mason and Menard counties.

Early Head Start enhances children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual development; assists pregnant women to access comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care; supports parents' efforts to fulfill their parental roles; and helps parents move toward self-sufficiency.

Home-based services will bring Early Head Start staff into family homes every week to support child development and to nurture the parent-child relationship. Twice per month, the program will offer opportunities for parents and children to come together as a group for learning, discussion and social activity.

"The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning," said Beth Fleshman, Head Start director. "Research tells us that the achievement gap is already measurable and apparent by 18 months of age. Early Head Start is part of the solution in lessoning that gap so that low-income children have the support and stimulation they need to be successful in the long run."

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Applications for the Early Head Start program will be available on Jan. 11, with anticipated services to start in the beginning of April.

Community Action serves the low-income and senior populations of six central Illinois counties. For more information, visit www.capcil.org.

[Text from file received from Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois]


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