SCCAP Head Start accepting applications for fall enrollment

July 3, 2013

Open enrollment has begun for Monroe County children to participate in Head Start at the South Central Community Action Program for the 2013-14 school year.

SCCAP offers 3-1/2 hour classes and 6-hour classes for low income families free of charge, as well as extended day classrooms that are open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for families who are working or going to school for $30.00 a week. Available options include Early Head Start for infants and toddlers six weeks to three years of age and Head Start for children three to five years of age.

SCCAP will hold a Head Start Enrollment Open House on July 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. where parents can look at classrooms and learning centers, talk with teachers and schedule intake appointments. The open house will be held at the main SCCAP office at 1500 W. 15th Street in Bloomington.

Early Head Start and Extended Day classrooms will begin the school year on Aug. 7 and other Head Start classes will begin on Aug. 12. For further information on enrollment including documentation needed to enroll your child, please call 812-334-8350, ext. 215 or email

Sequestration forces cutbacks in Monroe County Head Start services for low-income children and families

April 3, 2013

Low-income children and families in Monroe County will soon feel the impact of sequestration cutbacks that are forcing the South Central Community Action Program to reduce its Head Start services and workforce.

As a result of federal sequestration, SCCAP must cut 5.1 percent from its Head Start budget, which amounts to $152,000. The impact of this cut is intensified by the timing of sequestration. Although the 5.1 percent cut applies to SCCAP’s annual Head Start budget, the agency has just seven months remaining in its program year, ending Nov. 30, in which the $152,000 in savings much be achieved.

The SCCAP Board of Directors and Head Start Parent Council voted Monday night to make the following cuts, which must be approved by the Head Start Regional Office in Chicago before they go into effect.

• Elimination of 12 slots for children ages 3 to 5 in Head Start. Closure of the program’s Head Start classroom at Lakeview Elementary. In addition to daily education in classrooms, this includes health and nutrition, special needs, family and social services for the children and families.

• Elimination of 25 home-based slots for children up to age 3 in Early Head Start. This involves home-based education and other services for children, as well as prenatal education and services for pregnant mothers.

• Suspension of Head Start transportation service at the end of this school year (currently157 children receive transportation). There will be no transportation services for summer or for the 2013-14 school year.

• Closure of Head Start for summer at an earlier date. The current Head Start school year will end on April 26, rather than its regular date of May 23.

• Head Start will be cut from 108 students to 36 students during summer 2013. This will involve a reduction from six summer classrooms to two.

• 15 SCCAP Head Start employees will lose their jobs. This will include teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, home visitors, managerial and administrative staff. In addition, more Head Start employees than usual will be laid off for the summer and the layoffs will come sooner. These summer layoffs, impacting 39 employees, will begin on May 3.

In planning these cuts, SCCAP leaders worked many hours to try to limit their impact on a program intended to help children from difficult economic circumstances to get a good start in school and a better chance on a life in which they break the cycle of poverty.

“It’s hard to cut without impacting families and kids,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “We tried to make these cuts in a way that would limit the number of Head Start slots lost, so that as many Monroe County children as possible continue to receive comprehensive child development services that will improve their lives.”

“It is difficult and sad to have to eliminate the positions of committed and caring Head Start employees, some who have worked here for many years, not because they were making a lot of money but because they valued contributing to the lives of countless young children,” Lare said. “It is so unfortunate that in making federal funding cuts, our elected officials are unable or unwilling to avoid cuts that hurt our most vulnerable citizens in this time of economic distress for so many.”

Lare and other SCCAP representatives met last week with Congressman Todd Young to discuss their concerns about sequestration cuts. Young told the group that members of Congress were not told in advance of the impact specific cuts from sequestration would have on their districts.

Local Head Start program facing federal budget cuts

February 28, 2013

In today’s Herald-Times:

Funding for about 1,000 Indiana children in Head Start and Early Head Start could also be cut, according to the White House. Locally, the South Central Community Action Program, which operates local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, has already been operating on 19 percent less than it did last year, due to the expected sequestration.

Todd Lare, director of SCCAP, was hoping that money would be restored, but with Friday’s looming decision, he is not feeling hopeful.

“We started the year thinking the issues would all work out,” Lare said. “Now, it looks like that probably isn’t the case.”

“I think it’s easy to talk about closing a few classrooms or not providing transportation, but that’s a lifeline for many children, not only for learning, but having a routine and normalcy that builds toward their long-term school careers,” he said. “I think the impact on individuals is profound. There is no do-over.”

The timing of the cuts is also ironic, especially during a time when the importance of early education is being touted on national and statewide levels, Lare said.

“The national conversation is about extending opportunities for early childhood education,” he said. “It’s sad that (the cuts) come at time when we are actually talking about not scaling back programs.”

In addition to Head Start, SCCAP is also dealing with cuts to programs such as weatherization, community services block grant, Section 8 housing vouchers, individual development accounts and energy assistance.

Tuesday News

September 21, 2010

For our Tuesday News this week, we have a feature story about SCCAP teacher Tillie Allgood, who has been happily stuck in Head Start for much of her life.

This story was written by our former intern Lauren Sedam, who is now in charge of copyediting at the Indiana Daily Student:

Tillie Allgood is stuck, and she’ll tell you so herself.

But it’s not a bad thing.

Tillie is a teacher for Head Start at the South Central Community Action Program in Bloomington, where she provides a classroom experience for 3- to 5-year-old children of low-income families. She’s been involved in the program since she herself was in school, serving in almost every role there is.

As a teenager, Tillie put in countless hours of volunteer work while her own brother was involved in the program. When it came time for her own children, Patricia and Patrick, now 19 and 20, to become enrolled in school, she said the choice to start them at Head Start was only logical.

Tillie then served on the Council of Involved Families and worked as a sub for three years. She has been able to get her certification to drive a bus, her Associates degree, her Child Development Associate certification, and she is working on her Bachelor’s degree, all things she said she probably wouldn’t have been able to do without the help of Head Start.

After her own children graduated from the program, Tillie took a full-time position.  She hasn’t left for 14 years.

In that time, Tillie has seen a lot of kids pass through. She’s even had a future State Spelling Bee champion start out in her class.

She said some families need a little more guidance than others, and when that’s the case, Head Start works to connect the family with resources that will help support them through the years.

Other times, she said, parents just aren’t sure how to get what their kids need and need a little guidance. Tillie recalled one family of young parents who had six kids at the time. She said they knew they needed to get their children in school, but they weren’t sure exactly what to do.

They found Head Start, and Tillie had every one of their kids in class. She said as each kid passed through, they were more and more prepared, picking up on things from those that came before.

“The growth of that family was astounding,” Tillie said. “The support that we were able to deliver within that poverty…was just an amazing thing.”

She said the kids are now entering high school and are involved in a lot of main stream activities like sports.

Yet, she said the relationships with the family don’t end when kids graduate from the program and move on.

“Even after each child left, we were able to provide support just by being a safe place to ask questions,” she said.

But the kids in Tillie’s class aren’t the only successful aspect of Head Start in Tillie’s life. She’s seen this deep connection to the program in her own kids, who she said support the program “210 percent.”

 They were both involved in Head Start as kids and have spent time volunteering and supporting their mom as they’ve gotten older.

She said her son, Patrick, spent a lot of time helping out with the playground. “One minute he’d be shoveling mulch, and the next he’d be in here lying on the floor and playing with the kids,” she said. “I think that shows the kind of belief they have in this program.”

This is a good example of how Tillie says the Head Start program forms a tight and lasting bond—a family. As her son was preparing to move out of the house after graduation, she said he told her not to be sad because she “still had her Head Start kids, and they need you”

 This attachment is exactly what Tillie says makes the Head Start family unique: Once you’re in, and once you believe in the program, you’re stuck.

“Those friendships and those relationships are long-lasting,” she said.

She encourages those who don’t know about the program to come in and experience the classroom for themselves.

“There’s something here for everyone,” Tillie said. “Regardless of the need or level, there’s something here for everyone.”

Tillie Allgood is stuck, and she’d tell you so herself.

But it’s a good thing.

Head Start profiled in video

January 20, 2010

Hello all!

It’s Lauren again. I’m back from break and back at SCCAP. Before break, though, for my final project in my visual communications class, I made a video profiling Head Start and all they do. Take a look!

The video may be a little jumpy because the file is SO big, but I hope you enjoy it anyway!

SCCAP is seeking Head Start employees

November 12, 2009

The South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) is seeking to fill several positions as a result of receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand its Head Start program.  Read the rest of this entry »

SCCAP teams up with Eigenmann to form “reciprocal relationship”

November 12, 2009

When IU’s Residential Programs and Services paired SCCAP with Eigenmann Residence Hall for the school year, neither knew what to expect.

Yet, Tom Kenning, the SCCAP coordinator for the partnership, said it’s been more beneficial for both organizations than they could have ever imagined at the start.

All IU dorms are paired with specific non-profit organizations this school year. The key, Kenning said, is to make the pairing a reciprocal relationship—both the organization and the students need to be involved and reap the benefits.

Kenning said part of the goal is to get students to look beyond the Sample Gates and make them see that Bloomington isn’t just a place to come for four years and leave—it’s a community with its own needs and issues.

But that’s the entire goal. Kenning said community members can sometimes see students as only wanting the party and college aspects of the community. He said this partnership is also helping change that view by allowing families to interact with students and put a face on the University, as well as showing young children that college students are just like them, and that it’s something they could do, too.

To build this reciprocal relationship, Kenning said floors have volunteered with Circles and Head Start,  SCCAP has greeted and handed out water during move in day, and both have come together for informational meetings on campus about poverty.

Most recently, they combined forces to put on a Halloween party with Head Start and Circles. Kenning said students decorated lounges, dressed up and interacted with the kids, and did face painting.

In the future, they are planning a Christmas event, most likely pairing family “wish lists” with different floors that can provide items.

Kenning said the turn-out on both sides has been surprisingly strong, and he credits this for much of the success they’ve had.

Although he’s not sure what RPS is planning for next year, he says in his eyes, the program has been very successful. SCCAP would love to be involved again, he said, and they’re already looking forward to next semester.

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