Western Carolina Community Action has received a 1. 7 million dollar grant as part of President Obama's Early Learning Initiative to improve access to high quality early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers. This US Department of Health and Human Service Administration for Children and Families (ACF) funded grant will allow us to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving infants and toddlers from low income families. WCCA will collaborate with child care partners to provide comprehensive services that benefit children, families, and teachers, including:

• Health, developmental and behavioral screenings

• Higher health, safety and nutrition standards

• Increased professional development opportunities for teachers

• Increased parent engagement opportunities

Since March 1, 2015 WCCA has partnered with 10 Child Care providers in Henderson, Transylvania and Rutherford County and has been able to provide Early Head Start comprehensive services over 50 children. In the next year, we will be expanding to 100 children and implementing this grant to provide high quality child care to the children and families of Western North Carolina. We look forward to our continued success working with our EHS partnership child care centers and Family child care providers.

ADDITIONAL HEAD START INFORMATION

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 meet 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 13 home-base teachers, and 2 home-base supervisor. Family services are provided by eight Family Service Workers and a Fatherhood Specialist, under a Family Services Coordinator. Two Education Coordinators and an Administrative Assistant work closely with the Children’s Services Director. There are two Area Managers, a Health Coordinator, Nutrition Coordinator, a Data Specialist, a Disabilities Specialist, a Mental Health Specialist, and Enrollment Specialist. Volunteers are essential members of this team.

APPLICATION PROCESS

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 and State of North Carolina