The Children’s Center receives federal expansion dollars

Published 8:14 am Friday, March 12, 2010

The Children’s Center will expand its Early Head Start program by 100 children and eight pregnant women after receiving expansion dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Center has received an additional $1,089,084 in federal grants and will expand the Early Head Start program in Franklin, Southampton County, Isle of Wight County, and Suffolk through a renovation project at the Texie Camp Marks Children’s Center and an addition built on to the Suffolk Children’s Center. Some of the new children will receive home-based services.

The Center currently receives funding to serve 140 children and eight pregnant women.

Beginning in April, the Center will add 12 home-based children. By June, 32 additional children will receive early care and education services at the Texie Camp Marks several days each week and a monthly home visit to extend those activities into the home. An additional eight children will receive early care and education services daily at the Center.

In November, 48 children will receive the combination center based and home based services, and an additional eight children will attend the Suffolk Children’s Center, daily.

Renovations will take place at the Texie Camp Marks building to convert classrooms for joint Early Head Start and community childcare use.

In Suffolk, the Center will build an addition on to the current Suffolk Children’s Center at 300 Executive Court.

The expansion will include the hiring of approximately 38 new employees.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide services to these additional children and women,” said Barbara Mease,” Executive Director of the Children’s Center. “After careful research of Western Tidewater, we decided to apply for this expansion after we determined that there was is a need for Early Head Start services in the region. We are fortunate that our community partners – Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater, Camp Foundations, Hampton Roads Foundation, Beazley Foundation, and Bank of America Foundation have supported our efforts to raise the matching funds required for this project.” EHS requires that the community provide $1 for every $4 of federal funds.

The expansion marks the second increase in Early Head Start funding for the Children’s Center. The Center also received EHS expansion money in 2000.

The Early Head Start program provides early childhood education, family, and health services to low-income pregnant women and families with children under the age of three. All children are provided with developmental screenings. Services for the families are offered through a variety of options including full-time and part-time child care and home visits for parent education and support. Children who have disabilities are included.

The Children’s Center is a private, nonprofit organization (501(c)(3) tax exempt) that has served families living in Western Tidewater (Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, Franklin, and Southampton County) since 1983. The Center serves children of all levels of ability, including those with disabilities, and those who are economically disadvantaged. The Children’s Center’s mission is to nurture and educate children and their families through a professional staff dedicated to enhancing each child’s potential with creative, quality programs.

The Children’s Center also provides early intervention to infants and toddlers with delays in development, licensed pediatric therapy, and licensed community childcare for children six weeks to 12 years of age. These programs are provided in the child’s home and in integrated settings at five sites throughout Western Tidewater.