Head Start and Early Head Start provides services in Transylvania, Henderson, and Polk Counties for 453 children from the ages of birth to five years old. Enrollees are served in ten different centers in Henderson County, two centers in Transylvania County, and one in Polk County. These children are part of 32 classroom settings.
Four of the centers utilize Wrap-Around services which lengthen the classroom day and months of the year if needed, to provide child care for parents of children who are working or in job related training. Parents pay for Wrap-Around fees on a sliding scale basis. There is, however, no charge for participation in Head Start or Early Head Start.
Children are visited in their homes on a weekly basis by a teacher who works with the Head Start child and the parent, as well as other family members. Home-based children are also given opportunities to visit centers for socialization experiences. The eligibility criteria, including age and family income, is the same as for enrollees in a Head Start center. Currently, 108 home-based children, ages 0 – 5, are served in Polk, Transylvania, and Henderson Counties.
Children enrolled in the home-based program are from families who 1) live in remote areas of the three counties (therefore making it difficult to be transported daily to a center) or 2) prefer to keep their children at home during their preschool years.
NC Pre-K Center services are provided for 105 four year old children in Henderson and Transylvania Counties by the State Pre-School Program. These services operate on school days during the school year. Staff in these classrooms have a minimum BA degree and must be working toward a B-K teacher certificate. These children are served in classrooms with Head Start children.
Head Start children in both center and home-base programs receive comprehensive services of education, social service, parent involvement, nutrition and health. Parents are involved in all facets of the program.
The 80% federal funds allocated to operate Head Start programs must be matched by 20% non-federal resources. The non-federal match is typically provided by services of volunteers and donations from individuals, churches and civic groups, etc. NC Pre-K funds also count in this match.
The WCCA Board of Directors and the Head Start Policy Council share decision-making about various aspects of the Head Start program to include approval of: 1) procedures for program planning and the annual funding applications, 2) short-term and long-term program goals, and 3) procedures for resolution of community concerns.
ABOUT THE STAFF
This department has the largest number of staff members due to the size of the program which brings to mind the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Each classroom has 2 teachers who must meed educational requirements. Meals for the centers are prepared in one of our five commercial kitchens, and delivered to the centers. There is a bus driver and bus assistant for the Early Head Start school bus. There are ten home-base teachers, and a home-base supervisor. Family services are provided by eight family workers and a fatherhood specialist, under a family services coordinator. Two educational coordinators and an administrative assistant work closely with the program director. There are two Area Managers, a Health/Nutrition Coordinator, a Data Specialist, a Disabilities Specialist, a Mental Health Specialist, and Enrollement Specialist. Volunteers are essential members of this team.
Anyone interested in enrolling their child or children in one of the Head Start or Early Head Start programs is encouraged to apply. Application forms for Head Start and Early Head Start programs can be downloaded from the Applications Page and returned to WCCA in person, by mail, or dropped off at the Receptionist's Desk at Western Carolina Community Action.
FUNDING SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services State of North Carolina