Community Action Council awarded $8.5M Head Start grant; retains more than 100 jobs

Community Action Council awarded $8.5M Head Start grant; retains more than 100 jobs

LEXINGTON, Ky.  — Community Action Council for Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison and Nicholas counties announced Thursday that it has been awarded a federal grant through a competitive grants process to provide Head Start and Early Head Start services for children and families with low income in the counties of Clark, Estill, Garrard, Jackson, Laurel, Madison, Powell, and Rockcastle beginning on Jan. 1, 2019.

This grant award — totaling over $8.5 million a year for five years — will enable the council to operate a comprehensive program to meet the needs of children and families, through direct management of high-quality early childhood education services as well as partnership with local community-based early childhood education providers and local education systems. The council received support for its grant application from members of Congress.

“I was proud to support the Community Action Council in its work for Kentucky’s vulnerable children and families,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on his constituents’ behalf. “With additional resources for personnel, equipment, and facilities, this grant will help deliver comprehensive early-educational services to over 700 children in the commonwealth. In total, Head Start programs are building a strong foundation for the future successes of more than 15,000 young Kentuckians. Supporting our children in their educational development from an early age is a top priority, and I am very pleased to see this much-needed funding going towards such an important cause.”

“The Community Action Council does excellent work supporting young children and their families through the Head Start program, and I was proud to support their efforts to secure this grant,” said Congressman Brett Guthrie. “With over 50 years of experience and a track record of providing excellent early child development services, I knew that the Community Action Council would be a great choice to expand its services into the Second District. I congratulate the Council on receiving this competitive grant, and I look forward to seeing how this grant will help improve the lives of young Kentuckians.”

“Offering our children a strong educational foundation in the early stages of life lays the groundwork for future success,” said Congressman Andy Barr. “For this reason, I was proud to support the Community Action Council’s grant to provide early educational services to hundreds of children in our area. This grant will give the Community Action Council the resources they need to help build a foundation for our future generations, and I applaud the Council for the great work they do for children and their families throughout the commonwealth.”

While this is a new grant award for the council, children and families in these counties have been receiving Head Start and Early Head Start services from Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, Inc. (KRFDC Inc.); these services will conclude on Dec. 31, 2018. As of this week, the council — with the assistance of officials from KRFDC Inc. — is reaching out to current Head Start staff, families and community stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition of program operations for all involved, and to maintain continuity of services for the children and families. The council is committed to quickly hiring over 100 current Head Start and Early Head Start teachers, family and support staff so they will be ready once the program returns from its winter break at the beginning of 2019.

Between now and then, the council will continue to work closely with officials from KRFDC Inc. and those designated by the Office of Head Start in Atlanta to implement its program transition plan. This transition plan includes hosting job fairs in the named counties to recruit, interview and on-board program staff. The council will also host community forums to answer questions, address any concerns, and provide support to all families and stakeholders. The council’s plan is designed to minimize disruption for children and families who are already receiving Head Start services in these communities, as well as for current Head Start program staff and partners.

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  • KRFDC has provided Head Start services to those counties for over 50 years. Their instructors, educational centers, and student outcomes have all consistently received higher evaluation scores than those in the CAC Lexington service area. KRFDC is invested in communities in these counties beyond just Head Start, as they offer other services in these rural communities, and have a long history of involvement on a local level that Lexington does not. This transition equates to a net loss of jobs, as CACLex will not employ as many people in these communities as KRFDC currently does. It will also result in a decrease in the number of children and families served, as CAC Lex will be cutting enrollment in the expanded area by more than 100 children next year. This was pure politics, and is a net loss for these 8 counties.