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Head Start expanding its reach

July 23, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A new Early Head Start program is being introduced next month in Washington County to serve more children than ever, including some who aren't even born.

The Early Head Start program will provide access to prenatal and postpartum medical care, prenatal dental care, prenatal education, home visits by staff, breast-feeding education and supplies, said Dee Harne, assistant director of Head Start of Washington County.

"Now we are working with children as old as 5 and down to birth or even before," Harne said.

The program also has a program for pregnant mothers, Harne said.

"When we get them at that stage, we can teach them how to do things right," Harne said.

There are also parent support groups, transportation assistance, and half-day, full-day and home-based program options, Harne said.

To accommodate the expansion of services, new staff is being hired and several locations are being remodeled, Harne said.

An open enrollment day has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the following locations:

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n Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 131 W. North Ave. (2-year-olds)

n Westshire Center, 920 W. Washington St. (infants to 3-year-olds)

n Noland Center, 1048 Noland Drive.

n Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, 3346 Gapland Road.

n Head Start administrative office, 325 W. Memorial Blvd.

At Westshire, there are small classes for all parents as well as for those who work or are in job training, Harne said.

Those taking advantage of the open enrollment day are to bring pay stubs, food stamp letters, a public assistance certification letter, child support information or Social Security information.

"Vouchers for purchase of care can be obtained through the Washington County Department of Social Services," Harne said.

Head Start began as a federally funded program geared to help low-income 3- and 4-year-olds prepare for kindergarten by stressing social and cognitive development.

For more information, call 301-733-0088, ext. 217.

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