Head Start begins enrollment

Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically, according to Chief Executive Officer Almetra J. Franklin, of St. Mary/Vermilion Community Action Agency.
Head Start recognizes that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children and welcomes the involvement of parents in all activities and partners with parents to help the children progress.
Head Start serves the total family and offers supportive services, said Administrative Assistant and Education Supervisor Melanda Butaud,
Those services include an array of training on many subjects, such as parenting classes, job training, learning about health and nutrition, and using community resources. marriage enrichment counseling, youth development, housing counseling and substance abuse treatment and prevention are also available as a part of the program’s holistic approach to the delivery of comprehensive quality services.
The Fatherhood/Male Literacy Content Area of the program is open to males of all ages interested in earning their GED, learning basic computer skills, learning to be a mentor to young fathers, or just brushing up on your parenting skills. For more information call David Teno at 337-828-5753.
At least 10 percent of the enrollment is made available for children with disabilities and their families. They receive the full range of Head Start developmental services in an inclusive environment. Head Start staff members work closely with community agencies to provide these services to meet their special needs.
The Head Start Program in St. Mary is funded to serve 357 pre-school children and their families, according to the administration.  Transportation is provided for Head Start children.    
The Policy Council approves the selection criteria, which includes the following:
Eligible children must be 3 and 4 years old and born on or before Sept. 30, 2013, They will be enrolled on a first come first served basis according to the following selection criteria.
1. Returning children are accepted first.
2. Children with Disabilities. (at least 10 percent of the slots will be made available to children with disabilities)
3. Eligible children from the 2012-13 waiting list.
4. Aid for Families with Dependent Children.
5. Other public benefits (SSI, Disability, VA, etc.)
6. Income: Below poverty guidelines.
7. Income: Above poverty guidelines.
The program will serve all eligible children in a family and transportation is provided.
During initial screening, 3-year-olds will be considered for placement after all eligible 4-year-olds have been enrolled. Children whose third birthday is after Sept. 30 will be kept on an active waiting list contact log.
Ten percent of allotted slots may be filled with children from families who are above poverty guidelines if slots are available after the initial enrollment period.
Recruitment is an ongoing process. Applications received after screening will be screened and enrolled according to the above selection criteria on a first come first serve basis.
Parents should call the center in their area for an appointment between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Leave the child’s name, birthday and parent’s name and phone number. A family service worker will call backto set up an appointment.
Local centers include:
—Peter Pan Head Start Center, 1407 Barrow St., Franklin, call 337-828-3893, Paula Robinson, site manager.
—Mickey Mouse Head Start Center, 801 MLK, Baldwin, call 337-923-7010, Louise Pierre, site manager.
—Bambi Head Start Center, 20292 U.S. 90 Frontage Road, Four Corners, call 337-276-5571, Arlene Lockett, site manager.
—Snow White Head Start Center, 8391 La. 182, Verdunville, call 337-836-5417, Cathy Eave, site manager.
Applications will also be taken at the Head Start Central Office, 1407 Barrow St., in Franklin by appointment.
“Head Start is an extraordinary experience for children and their families.” Franklin said. “St. Mary-Vermilion Parish Head Start Program has an excellent dedicated staff that is ‘family focused’. We encourage all eligible parents to make Head Start your choice for your child.”

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