Head Start & Early Head Start

CCA Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development and family focused programs which serve high-risk children from birth to age 5, and their families.  The program is child-focused and has an overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.  To achieve this goal we are committed to a set of core values that include: quality services, inclusion, family empowerment, community collaboration, child, family, and staff learning, advocacy, overall wellness, and diversity.

Operating under federal grants, Coastal Community Action, (CCA) is the “grantee agency,” whose fiduciary role is to provide a wide range of services—including early education, health, nutrition and family development—to low-income children and their families. The blueprint for operation of a Head Start program is contained in federal Head Start regulations, known as the “Performance Standards,” which describe the services that must be provided by grantee agencies and establish the standards that must be met with the delivery of those services.  As a grantee agency, CCA has overall legal and fiscal responsibility to ensure that the program operates in compliance with these standards. 
On December 12, 2007, President Bush signed into Law the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act.  This Act included several revisions to the Head Start Program. Of the changes, the most significant is in Program Governance.  Other changes include increased teacher aide qualifications, services to homeless children and families, increased reporting requirements, and changes in program defunding procedures.
Head Start is different from virtually all other anti-poverty programs in that it requires parent involvement in the design and delivery of services to children and families.  Parent involvement helps to ensure that the services provided to families are of the highest quality, and that services align with the needs of the community.  It also helps parents develop decision-making and leadership skills.  Accordingly, the Performance Standards require all Head Start programs to involve parents in program planning, policies, and operations of the Head Start program serving their children.  The Head Start Policy Council is the primary vehicle for involving parents in decision-making concerning their CCA Head Start program.  Locally, Head Start centers operate parent committees and plan for center-wide parent training events, parent activities, and parent-child celebrations.
At present, CCA Head Start is funded to serve 617 children, and Early Head Start serves 124 children. Both programs are required to maintain waiting lists.
CCA Head Start and Early Head Start provide a high-quality, developmentally-appropriate educational program to children and their families.  In addition, the program(s) ensure that children receive needed medical services, including age-appropriate screening and immunizations, dental check-ups and needed dental care, nutrition and social services.  A Family Partnership Agreement is developed each year to help identify goals that will improve the ability of the family to meet their needs and address their assets.  Often, this involves making connections to education, training or employment.  Home visits are utilized to ensure that HS/EHS staff is more fully aware of the family strengths, needs and relevant issues.
Additional goals include the provision of a successful and enjoyable experience for children while assisting families as they strive for empowerment and accomplishment; building upon the individual strengths of families to meet their own needs in helping them become self-sufficient; and strengthening linkages within communities.


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