Children’s Center may create new jobs

Published 11:57 am Saturday, July 28, 2012

FRANKLIN—It’s possible the Children’s Center may create new jobs now that it has been contracted to administer the Head Start program in Franklin, Suffolk, and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

It’s also likely everyone working for those Head Start centers will have to reapply for their jobs, said Jeff Ziegler, community relations coordinator for the Children’s Center in Franklin.

The Franklin non-profit agency on Tuesday announced it received a $2.3 million grant to provide the Head Start program to 300 children.

The Children’s Center will take over the program from Community Development Institute, which ran it on a temporary basis last year. CDI took over after the program’s previous operator, Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project, closed 31 Head Start centers throughout Hampton Roads in March 2011, saying it could not meet its payroll.

Currently, there are Head Start centers in Franklin, Courtland, Smithfield and Suffolk.

Head Start serves 3- to 5-year-olds from low-income families with educational, health, nutritional, social and other services. The program involves and assists parents in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals.

Children attend free for six hours five days a week if their families meet federal poverty income levels, Ziegler said. A child from a family of four with an income of less than $23,050 would qualify. For a family of six, the highest income can be $30,970.

The Head Start at the former Courtland Elementary School has slots for 51 children and the two in Franklin near the old Hayden High School accept a total of 34.

With everything very preliminary, Ziegler wasn’t sure how many slots might still be open. He understands children were registered in the spring.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean they are all coming,” he said. “Sometimes kids drop out of program if accepted to the preschool program. It’s possible we may not know for a few weeks.”

As the new provider, the Children’s Center will need to verify that everyone already in the program meets financial guidelines.

Current Head Start and Children’s Center employees as well as residents can apply for jobs at the Head Start centers. Ziegler didn’t know the number of positions because everything is still so new.

“We’re going to start doing that and will work on that next week,” he said. “The one thing it would involve is that everyone hired has to go through background checks.”

The positions will be advertised.

The Children’s Center is looking at a Sept. 10 startup for its Head Start facilities.