Thursday, April 12, 2018

Head Start helps rural families with more than child care

The federally-funded Head Start program helps low-income families across the U.S. with child care, but in rural areas it can be a critical resource for much more. "In 2015-16, 68 percent of rural families with a child enrolled in Head Start received a family service, including job training, parenting education, and substance abuse prevention through the program," Jackie Mader reports for The Hechinger Report, which says it "covers inequality and innovation in education."

A new report by the Center for American Progress found that, in some states, Head Start accounts for one-third of all child-care centers. In rural areas, it is sometimes the only available source of child care for families, enabling parents to go back to work or work more hours. That means the program has a big impact on rural economies, too.

The program also helps children's health. "Mississippi’s Head Start centers provide each child with five screenings when they enroll, including a vision, hearing and dental screening, to ensure no health issues are standing in the way of learning. Many children in the state’s rural or low-income communities would not get these screenings if not for Head Start," Mader reports. "The centers also work with each parent to create a plan for short and long-term goals and connects families with resources that can help parents meet their goals and services that can help children with any developmental delays that arise."

No comments: