In 2015, The YWCA was awarded a five-year renewable Early Head Start Child Care Partnership grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. With this grant, the YWCA is able to provide year-round child care for children ages 6 weeks to 3 years (including those with disabilities) whose families are homeless and/or live below the poverty line. We are also able to provide comprehensive child development and family support services as part of this program. In 2018, 140 children participated in the YWCA Early Head Start program.
In March of 2019, the YWCA was awarded an additional 1M 5-year combined grant for Early Head Start Childcare Partnership and Early Head Start Expansion services. This allows for the YWCA to serve an additional 68 children in Stark County.
The YWCA Early Head Start is currently enrolling children aged 6 weeks to 3 years including infants and toddlers with disabilities. Enrolled children and families are provided with classroom environments that encourage age appropriate exploration, developmentally appropriate lessons, developmental screenings upon enrollment, as needed, and much more!
In addition to providing year-round child care in high-quality settings, the grant’s holistic funding approach includes: health and dental screenings by Canton Health Department nurses; the Resiliency Project provides support services to teachers and families with children who are experiencing behavioral or social-emotional problems; and Help me Grow provides services for children who need early intervention.
The Early Childhood Resource Center provides on-going professional development for all teaching and support staff involved with the program and one staff member from each center receives tuition reimbursement for attending a college continuing education class.
As part of their professional development, 3 of our EHS Family Support Specialists have completed the Family Services Credential portfolio through the National Head Start Association. This was 4 months of self-paced study to complete a portfolio demonstrating their knowledge and skills in the area of family services. They will be receiving a Family Service credential from National Head Start as a result of their commitment to their profession and the families they serve.
Our Early Head Start program has continued to experience growth. The chart below demonstrates the percentage of children served at the YWCA Canton Early Head Start Childcare and Family Childcare Program during the 2016 program year that were meeting or exceeding widely held developmental expectations at the end of the program year. Data shows information in developmental areas where children are meeting widely held expectations and areas that will require future planning to ensure positive outcomes for children and builds a foundation to ensure school readiness.