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.

Free energy efficiency improvements available

February 19, 2013

The South Central Community Action Program is seeking applicants from Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties for its Weatherization Program.

The Weatherization Program reduces energy consumption in low-income households and insures that each client has a safe, operating heat source. Each client receives a furnace inspection and an energy audit. SCCAP uses private contractors to repair or replace heat sources, install insulation and seal the homes. Homeowners and renters are eligible. The program is federally funded and is free to local participants.

“This is a great time to apply for our Weatherization Program,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “While we sometimes have long waiting lists for Weatherization, we currently have worked through most of the names on our lists and are seeking new applicants.

“The Weatherization Program allows households to reduce their utility bills while being safer and more comfortable in their homes,” Lare said. “On average, across the nation, it reduces energy costs by more than $400 per household each year.”

To be eligible to have your owner-occupied or rental home weatherized, your household income must not exceed 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The income limits by family size are: 1 person in household – up to $22,340; 2 people – $30,260; 3 people – $38,180; 4 people – $46,100; 5 people – $54,020; 6 people – $61,940. For apartment buildings to be weatherized, two-thirds of the occupants must be eligible for the program and all units in the building must be weatherized. To apply, call 812-339-3447, ext. 275.

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.

Let’s get this blog rolling!

August 28, 2012

Hello, everyone!

After a year of working at the Indiana University School of Education, I’ve returned to the South Central Community Action Program as its director of communications and development. I had a great experience at IU, but realized that I missed trying every day to help make a difference for local people working to escape poverty.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to return to SCCAP and work with the caring and committed people here. This is my second day back and I already have a couple of exciting new projects I’m working on.

This blog has been inactive since I left SCCAP, but starting today we’ll resume having regular updates on people, programs and activities related to this organization and poverty in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties. So, please stop by when you have a chance and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

We’ll also continue to post updates and photos on SCCAP’s Facebook page.


Katie Hopkins appointed newest member of SCCAP board of directors

March 3, 2010

Katie Hopkins (left) with SCCAP staff members Linda Patton and Christine Combs

The South Central Community Action Program recently appointed a new member to its board of directors.

Katie Hopkins, a 28-year-old student and mother, took the position and attended her first board meeting Monday, March 1. Hopkins fills the seat left by Jonathon Williams, who passed away in October.

Hopkins has three children, two of whom are enrolled in Head Start. She became a Circles Leader in August, and she is a member of the Community of Teachers Program at the IU School of Education.

The SCCAP Board By-Laws state that at least eight members of the board must be representatives from the lower-income group. Hopkins serves in one of these positions.

“As a Circles Leader, I’m passionate about doing my part,” she said, “even if it’s just a small part, to end poverty—for me, personally, for my children and their children, for my community, and for my world.”

Weatherization exceeds goal once again

March 1, 2010

The Weatherization team once again met and exceeded their goal of homes completed with Recovery Act funds.

Every program around the state was given a goal based on the amount of funding it received. With SCCAP’s funding, the team was expected to complete 36 homes from December 1 to February 28.

They completed 55.

Director of Operations Chris Myers said that the goal of 36 completions would have left the team with more than half of their overall number to be completed in the next two months. Because of this, the team set an internal goal of 55 instead.

Myers said the whole staff has really pulled together to reach this, including the contractors, auditors, and clerical staff.

“I think we’re blessed with a staff that not only works hard, but works well together,” she said. “This makes all the difference.”

 In order to celebrate, Myers said she’ll be bringing the staff a Mexican-themed lunch. She said she also has a tradition of rewarding the auditor with the most completions, but this month poses a problem, as 4 auditors tied for the top spot.

This success builds from last period, in which Weatherization also met its goal. It was one of just four of the 30 Indiana organizations to do so.

Weatherization staff must now reset to complete their remaining 53 homes within the next two months. Keep up the good work!

Ballard leads Early Head Start in start-up

February 22, 2010

Janet Ballard had only been at SCCAP for about 6 weeks, and her time has already become a whirlwind of training and planning.

Ballard was named the new Early Head Start Education Coordinator in January, and most of the start-up of the new program has fallen to her.

Luckily, she has a strong background in both working directly with and managing the 0-3 age group. A long time Bloomington resident, she worked with the First Steps Early Intervention Program for 17 years before taking this new position. In that role, she said she often worked with Head Start director Shirley Stumpner and knew of her strong managing abilities.

She said her current duties in the start-up involve finding a space, hiring a staff and working out times for the new staff to do 6 weeks of training.

“Shirley’s there to help and guide along the way, as well as other people,” she said. “But it’s me.”

Ballard has also spent about two weeks in training, including a mandatory week-long training in Washington, D.C. for recipients of Early Head Start grants to make sure they meet the high standards of health and performance.

Once the program gets started, Ballard said her primary duties will be overseeing teachers and home visitors and making sure everything runs smoothly.

The program will have 54 slots altogether, with 24 at a center and 33 home based. Like Head Start, the program will provide child care with a curriculum for low-income children, but the age group will be from 0-3.

Ballard said one difference is that the age group requires a little more contact and care. They will also be able to visit and provide care to pregnant mothers.

Even so, Ballard said, the mission remains the same. The program will strive to help foster bonds and education, creating a partnership with families.

Early Head Start is starting up soon, with new teachers starting training March 22.

Ballard said her goal once the program is up and running is to get grants and become a great program that can serve as a model for others.

For now, though, the goal is to find a space.

“I feel like once we find a space, everything will fall into place,” Ballard said.

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