The Human Resources Agency of New Britain will be taking over management of the Bristol Head Start program.
The New Britain agency was awarded a grant contract to take over the management of the Bristol program from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Head Start Bureau. Head Start is a federally-funded program for the parents of pre-school-aged children based on the idea the parent(s) are a child’s primary educators.
“The Bristol program will be a wonderful complement to the New Britain Head Start program, which HRA has managed for many years,” HRA board president Cathy Baratta said in a press release. “Using its years of experience, HRA can ensure that quality children’s programming in Bristol will continue and grow.”
The announcement was made in conjunction with Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, representative to Connecticut’s fifth district.
“Early childhood development plays a critical role in children’s academic success,” Hayes said. “Federal funding for local Head Start programs provides an essential investment for student learning.”
In addition to increasing the hours in preschool classrooms serving 72 children, HRA’s infant/toddler component is designed to serve 40 children in a mix of classroom and home-based models. The program changes from a school year/school day schedule to a full year/full day schedule will accommodate working parents.
“The Bristol program under HRA will respond to a community need not currently being met,” Amy Griswold, HRA early childhood education director, said. “We have added full-day, full-year, center-based services for children ages 0-5. We are expanding the program options to include a home-based model, and introducing Early Head Start services. More importantly, it is truly exciting to have this opportunity to work with expectant parents. Head Start is all about meeting the needs of the entire family, and so we designed this model with this factor in mind.”
The program was under interim management from Denver-based nonprofit Community Development Institute, which is scheduled to officially give the program to HRA on Sept. 1. Infant and toddler instruction will not start until Jan. 1.
“Our model for low-income families will establish a comprehensive service approach for the most vulnerable families and their children ages 0-5, through high quality services that will set them off on a journey to success,” Marlo Greponne, HRA director of planning and programs, said. “It’s so important for the whole family to be engaged in a child’s development.”