Expansion of Early Head Start Program to Bring Valuable Services to Dozens of Children and Pregnant Women in Champaign County

A teacher works with young children who are playing

The RPC’s Early Childhood Education Program is expanding its Early Head Start services to 90 more children and families in the Champaign County area due to additional federal and non-federal funding recently awarded to the organization. This expansion will enable the RPC to serve 80 more children from birth to three-years-old in center-based services, as well as 10 pregnant women and teens as part of home visiting services. The RPC sought the additional funding in order to address the ongoing demand for Early Head Start services in Champaign County.

The RPC is currently exploring locations in the Champaign-Urbana area for the expanded Early Head Start services, which will create positions for 40 new employees. A portion of the funding will help to refurbish yet-to-be identified new buildings, install a playground, and outfit a total of 10 classrooms with developmentally appropriate furnishings, equipment, and materials. In addition, four offices for staff will be set up. However, prioritization and preference will be given to buildings with existing classrooms that are already configured and licensed for early education programming.

“We are very excited about this expansion because it will offer more services to infants and toddlers and help us further promote school readiness in Champaign County,” says Brandi Granse, Director of the RPC’s Early Childhood Education Division.

The center-based element of the expansion will enroll 80 children in full-day (10 hours) services for a total of 2,280 hours per year. These classrooms will serve families in which parents are working, in school, or in training for at least 30 hours a week. The 10 home-based enrollments will benefit pregnant women who will receive Expectant Mother home visiting services. These services provide 46 weekly home visits for 90 minutes each, along with 22 group socialization events for families that last for two-and-a-half hours per session.

The program received a total of $1,883,718 in new funding ($1,837,774 for the 12-month operating budget and $45,944 for Training & Technical Assistance). An additional $760,481 was awarded to cover start-up costs for the classrooms. The Child Care Assistance Program and reimbursement from the USDA Child-Adult Care Food Program are also being used to support this expansion.

“Our teaching approach focuses on each child’s potential and possibilities,” comments Granse. “We stress the importance of parents as their child’s first teacher, and this expansion will help our program continue realizing its daily mission and impacting the future of Champaign County in a positive way.”

The RPC Early Childhood Education Program plans to begin services by October 2019, but the process of recruiting employees and families is already underway. Job applicants may now apply for open positions, while families may apply for enrollment.

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