Applications are now available for families who want to enroll their children in NeighborImpact’s Head Start program in Deschutes and Crook counties. In 2013, Head Start enrolled 516 children in 24 classrooms.
Head Start provides a broad range of services in addition to classroom education. Health, nutrition, and family support services are complemented by a vast array of NeighborImpact programs, which support families in all areas of their lives. With this holistic approach, NeighborImpact positions families and children for success in school and life.
“Head Start works to expand parenting skills, economic stability and to ensure that unmet medical and dental needs are addressed,” explained Patty Wilson, NeighborImpact deputy director. “We not only advocate for the child, but the parents as well.”
There are eligibility requirements for Head Start, but all children must come from households living in poverty. Priority is given to children who are homeless, identified special needs, foster children and children who have suffered from abuse, neglect and early childhood trauma.
NeighborImpact, a 21 Cares for Kids partner, conducts rigorous assessments using a federal instrument to make sure that children are kindergarten-ready. More than 95 percent of the children enrolled in Head Start enter kindergarten having met the standards.
“Head Start is unique because of our specialized services. We want to make sure that all kids have the opportunity to overcome learning barriers so they can succeed once they enter the public school system,” said Wilson.
To qualify, children must live in Deschutes or Crook counties and be 3 or 4 years old on September 1, 2014. Applications and information regarding eligibility documentation is available for download at www.neighborimpact.org, or area NeighborImpact offices in Bend, La Pine, Redmond and Prineville. Families can also call (541) 323-6527 to have an application mailed.
Recruiting efforts begin every spring with the goal of filing all available slots by June. Space is limited, so it is important that families apply today.