The White House Summit on Early Education recently announced that Community Action, Inc. Head Start(CAI HS) of Haverhill has been awarded a $1.3 million Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant to fund a collaboration between the CAI Head Start program and local early childhood programs. The grant will expand early learning opportunities for Haverhill area infants and toddlers.
CAI Executive Director John Cuneo said “This grant will empower Community Action Inc. Head Start to build on long-standing community relationships and work with providers to address the desperate need for high quality care for infants and toddlers in Haverhill. We look forward to strengthening these partnerships and continuing to lay a foundation for success for our community’s youngest children.”
The partnerships will support working families by providing a full-day, full-year program. “Low income children will have the healthy and enriching early experiences they need to realize their full potential,” said Deborah Linett, CAI’s associate director of Early Childhood Education and Care.
Early Head Start programs also provide comprehensive services that benefit children and families including health developmental and behavioral screenings; higher health, safety and nutrition standards, increased professional development opportunities for teachers and increased parent engagement opportunities.
Mr. Cuneo said that the announcement was a welcome surprise for agency staff who applied for the grant back in August 2014. CAI HS will partner with the YMCA infant and toddler programs at the Haverhill and Plaistow sites of YMCA of the North Shore and with International Child Care in Haverhill. “We are very excited to collaborate with these two long-standing community institutions to add integrated educational, health, nutrition, and family services previously unavailable to families of the infants and toddlers at their centers,” said Ms. Linett, “We are also pleased to add new staff and development opportunities for teachers and other staff at these centers.”
The grantees were announced at the White House Summit on Early Education, where leaders in the early education community gathered to support President Obama’s commitment to expanding access to high-quality early education opportunities for children across the country.
“We are thrilled to see our local Head Start programs fueling change and laying the foundation for success in … communities across the country,” said National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “These new federal investments in local Early Head Start-Partnerships are an exciting step forward in our national commitment to ensuring every child, regardless of circumstance at birth, is given the opportunity to succeed.”
Mr. Cuneo said that it is particularly special for the agency to receive this award during 2015, its 50th Anniversary Year, the theme of which is “Opening Doors to Economic Opportunity.” The new partnership program is expected to be fully operational by June 1.