In January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared The War on Poverty in his State of the Union. Address. Shortly thereafter, Sargent Shriver took the lead in assembling a panel of experts to develop a comprehensive child development program that would help communities meet the needs of preschool children.
Head Start was designed to help break the cycle of poverty, providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs. Head Start is a federally funded program that promotes school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by supporting their development in a comprehensive way.
Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community. Many Head Start and Early Head Start programs are based in centers and schools. Other programs are located in child care centers and family child care homes. Some programs offer home-based services that assigned dedicated staff who conduct weekly visits to children in their own home and work with the parent as the child’s primary teacher.
Head Start started as a summer program in Nogales 1967. Head Start provides an array of services in Southeastern Arizona. Those services are: Early Childhood Development, School Readiness, Health, Nutrition Services and Parent Engagement services.
Child-Parent Centers options in Santa Cruz County:
Early Head Start/ Home Base program– Weekly home visits with family, pregnant women, infants and toddlers up to 3 years of age. Center socialization with parent and child two times a month
Head Start Part Day/Part Year program classrooms Kindergarten readiness for preschool age children.
Nogales Neighborhood Center provides Extended Day option– 1/ 6-hour classroom setting for 3 and 4 yr old children.
Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships– care in the home of providers.
There are 3 Child-Parent Centers in Nogales and 1 in Rio Rico. Those are Challenger Head Start 11 staff, Nogales Neighborhood Center 21 staff, Rio Rico Head Start 11 staff, Western Head Start 13 staff members.
Head Start collaborates with several community partners throughout Santa Cruz County to ensure it provides the best quality services to families those partners are: Mariposa Community Center, Nogales Unified School District, Rio Rico Unified School District, SCC Health Department, WIC, EQUIP, and First Things First.
There are 3 Child-Parent Centers in Nogales and 1 in Rio Rico. Those are: Challenger Head Start 11 staff, Nogales Neighborhood Center 21 staff, Rio Rico Head Start 11 staff, Western Head Start 13 staff members.
“We all need to work together to support families and children. Offer families opportunities and share resources to empower families to become self-sufficient and to help their children become successful individuals in schools and community,” said Silvia Brown, Program Services Coordinator.
Head Start offers comprehensive services to low income, homeless, foster care families at no cost to participants such as nutritional snacks, meals, Individualized Educational Planning (IEP), educational opportunities for parents, services for children with special needs including severe disabilities, social services referrals, vision, speech, and hearing screenings; parent and child group times.
“Community members can visit a center, volunteer to read to children, donate to our family assistance fund, and understand and communicate the importance of early childhood educations in ensuring that children reach their full potential, are self-sufficient, and are happy, productive citizens,” said Mrs. Brown.