Thursday, April 17, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

Head Start program to begin in January

County children 0-3 will benefit

December 18, 2013

POLK COUNTY — Mid-Willamette Valley Com-munity Action Agency Head Start will be offering Early Head Start for Polk County children ages birth to 3 years old beginning in January.

The year-round program is free to families who qualify and is designed to assist families in areas such as nutrition, health, family services, mental health, education, and healthy child-parent relationships.

Classes begin Jan. 13, and enrollment is now open.

Pregnant women are welcome to apply and will be served by home visits until their children are 6 weeks old and able to attend school.

This is the first time Early Head Start has been offered in Polk County. Jon Reeves, the program director at Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Head Start, said the program was able to reallocate resources to launch Early Head Start classes in Dallas and Independence.

"We already have Head Start in the Polk County area, but what we were seeing was a pretty specific need to have services for younger children with a site-based component," Reeves said, referring to the classroom environment the program offers.

Classes will be held twice per week for three and a half hours at either the Dallas (336 SW River Drive) or Independence (495 I St.) Head Start locations. Sixteen slots are available for families in Polk County with bus service from Dallas, Independence, Monmouth, and Falls City to class sites.

Early Head Start also schedules two home visits per month and assistance with finding doctors, dentists and other health care resources.

"It's a pretty comprehensive program looking to ensure children are starting off on the right trajectory," Reeves said.

Participation is based on federal income guidelines and other factors. Families may qualify if their annual income is equal to or less than the following: A family of two, $15,510; family of three, $19,530; family of four, $23,550. Larger families also qualify, just add $4,020 for each additional family member.

For more information or to apply, go online to www.mycommunityaction-.org or call 503-581-1152.