SCCAP receives federal grant to start Early Head Start Program in Bloomington

The South Central Community Action Program announced at a news conference Tuesday at City Hall in Bloomington that it has been awarded funds to launch an Early Head Start program. Here are photos and the news release that was distributed to the media at the news conference.

We thank all those who participated in and attended this event.  The speakers included Mayor Mark Kruzan, Field Representative Jason Carnes from Congressman Baron Hill’s staff, SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare and SCCAP Director of Head Start Shirley Stumpner.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local families will soon have access to Monroe County’s first federally funded, low-cost program to provide child care and development services to children at the most critical time in their development — from birth to three years old.

The new Early Head Start program will begin in May 2010 thanks to a $578,160 grant to the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) that Congressman Baron Hill’s office announced Tuesday. That grant is for the first 10 months of the program’s start-up and operation. The federal Office of Head Start has committed to fund another 12 months after that and the hope is that funding will be ongoing in future years.

The second-year of funding, at $734,321, brings the two-year budget to more than $1.3 million.

SCCAP will provide services for 24 infants and toddlers in a licensed child care center and an additional 33 families in their homes. The home-based option will include services to pregnant women and post-partum support. As children turn three years old and advance to the regular Head Start program for 3-to- 5 year-olds, additional spots will open for 0-3 year olds in the Early Head Start program.

“Families in this county have for decades experienced a shortage of low-cost, high-quality care for children under three years old,” SCCAP Head Start Director Shirley Stumpner said. “The Early Head Start program will provide comprehensive child development, health and social services at the age that’s most crucial for each child’s future success.

“It will also provide parents with resources and information to help them in caring for the children themselves, and enable them to work or pursue further education while their children are attending the year-round Early Head Start program.”

A location for the three new Early Head Start classrooms has not yet been identified. Families who are interested in further information about Early Head Start or Head Start can call 334-8350.

The Early Head Start grant for Monroe County is one of 10 being made in Indiana through funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It will allow SCCAP to hire 18 new employees to fill the following positions: one education coordinator, six lead teachers, five teacher assistants, one assistant health services coordinator, one assistant parent involvement coordinator, one family advocate, and three home visitors.

SCCAP’s Head Start program has served families in Bloomington for almost 45 years. It currently serves 235 3 to 5-year old children and that number will increase to 267 in January as a result of a $262,327 in stimulus funds it recently received for its first 10 months of start-up and operation.

In all, SCCAP has been awarded more than $2.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to serve low-income families in Brown, Morgan, Monroe and Owen counties. These funds have allowed or will allow SCCAP to hire 33 new employees and to spend tens of thousands of dollars with area businesses.

“We wish that low-income citizens and so many other people and businesses in our area and across the country weren’t experiencing such difficulties in this economy, but we’re proud to be part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help those in need and revitalize the local and national economy.    

SCCAP is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for low-income citizens to move toward personal and economic independence. Its programs include: Affordable Rental Housing, the Circles Initiative, Energy Assistance, Family Development, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts, Section 8 Housing and Weatherization.

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