Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stupak: Stimulus funds to expand Head Start programs, create new jobs

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced the Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw Child Development Board, Inc., and the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency have received a total of $1.5 million to expand Head Start programs in Northern Michigan. In total, 22 new jobs will be created as a result of the grants. The funding has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the stimulus, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to support the enrollment of additional children and families in Head Start programs as well as create new teaching and other positions in Early Head Start programs.

"Head Start programs are vital to giving millions of children the foundation they need to prepare for school and a lifetime of learning," Stupak said. "This stimulus funding provides immediate economic benefits by creating jobs in our communities, while also making a long-term investment in Northern Michigan, giving more children an opportunity to attend and gain educational benefits from Head Start programs."

Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw (BHK) Child Development Board, Inc., has received $477,491 to expand services to an additional 38 pregnant women, infants, toddlers and their families. Additionally, four full-time home visitors, one full-time literacy specialist and two part-time teachers will be hired to staff the Early Head Start expansion program. Program options will include home-based services for 30 families and center-based care for eight families. Innovations include a focus on intensive family literacy activities to increase parent-child interaction and to improve child and family outcomes for all 133 families served by the Early Head Start program.

Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency has received $1,038,871 to expand services to an additional 108 pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Additionally 15 new jobs will be created as a result of the funding. The award will expand services in Alpena, Arenac, Iosco and Ogemaw Counties as well as in previously unfunded counties of Alcona, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle. Home-based programs will be implemented for all expanded counties.

The goal of the Early Head Start Expansion program through ARRA is to increase the number of pregnant women, infants and toddlers served in Early Head Start. Financial assistance is competitively awarded to provide child and family development services for low-income families with infants and toddlers ages birth to three years and pregnant women who are not currently being served by a Head Start or Early Head Start program. Early Head Start programs are funded to provide early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services.

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