The Head Start program is one of the oldest programs Community Action Commission of Fayette County has offered — and it is still going strong today.
CAC, located at 1400 U.S. Route 22 N.W. in Washington Court House, is recognizing “Community Action Month” by sharing information with the public on its various programs.
According to Early Childhood Programs Director Amy Joseph, the Office of Administration for Children and Families funds the Head Start program.
“We currently serve 148 children in Fayette County in our Head Start preschool program. These children attend half day sessions from 8:15-11:45 a.m. Monday through Thursday or a full day session from 8:15-3:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday,” Joseph wrote via email.
She further explained that half-day children are provided a snack and lunch, while full day children are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack.
“We also serve families in their home through our home-based program. The home-based program serves 75 pregnant mothers and infants’ birth to 3 years of age. This program provides teachers who go into the family’s home and teaches parents how to use materials or their environment to teach their children,” wrote Joseph. “The program also has a childcare partnership program that serves 60 children and works with childcare centers to help them increase quality of services by providing enhancement dollars.”
Those dollars are used to increase staff wages, professional development, and purchase supplies. The childcare centers served are in Fayette (Rock-A-Bye Early Learning Center), Clinton (Clinton County Early Learning Center), and Highland County (Sunrise Sunset).
In a prior article, CAC Executive Director Bambi Baughn explained Head Start was created in 1965.
According to the CAC website, “Head Start began as a Summer Program in 1965. Its main focus was on the social development of children.”
“They didn’t have a center like we have now. It was just done in the summer like in basements in the churches around town,” said Baughn. “I was hired as the first Head Start director in 1978. We were with the old school, down in the basement there, and we fed the kids in the cafeteria.”
While Head Start is one of the oldest programs that has been offered by CAC, several more are available to the county.
As previously reported and according to the CAC website, www.cacfayettecounty.org, “the mission of the Community Action Commission of Fayette County is to combat causes of poverty, expand community services, and implement projects necessary to provide services and further community improvements. Its mission is also to consider the problems concerning youth, adults and senior citizens and deal with the prevention and solving of those problems.
“The development and management of affordable housing for special populations like individuals in recovery from substance abuse or mental illness, victims of domestic violence, the homeless and/or disabled, and low to moderate income individuals, families, and seniors is a specific purpose of the agency, as is the development of income-generating projects consistent with the purposes of the corporation which will increase funds available for services and reduce the agency’s dependence on public funds.”