United Children’s Services has been awarded an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant to expand high quality early learning opportunities for Bennington’s most vulnerable infants and toddlers. The grant is for 1.2 million dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families and will support 48 infants and toddlers in Bennington County.
“We are pleased we will be able to offer Early Head Start to children in our community,” says Lorna Mattern, Executive Director of United Counseling Service . “When children attend high quality programs they are better prepared for school and have improved outcomes. “
In a joint statement, the Vermont congressional delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) – welcomed the grant announcement: “There has never been a more important time to invest in our children and in our families. Head Start was designed to help break the cycle of poverty, and Vermonters know that Head Start and Early Head Start are truly changing lives. This award to Bennington County United Counseling Service will help build regional partnerships to expand opportunities for some of our most at-risk children. As Republicans in Washington call for drastic cuts to anti-poverty programs, this award is a needed reminder of the importance of these efforts.”
This funding will allow for the provision of a comprehensive Early Head Start serving Bennington County. The Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program brings together the best of Early Head Start and child care to provide comprehensive and continuous services to low-income infants, toddlers and their families. The program will provide strong relationship-based experiences and prepare children for the transition into Head Start and preschool.
“The program will have a positive impact in the community by helping to improve the child care workforce knowledge and skills in supporting the school readiness of low-income children,” said Betsy Rathbun-Gunn, Director of Childhood Services for UCS. “It will also aid in economic development as high quality care will be provided to working families.”
UCS serves children, adults, families, and seniors through nationally recognized counseling, early care and education, and clinical support.