One of the innovative ways the agency reached out to families was where they located their centers. Three of the centers are in the housing authority areas and some are in the local community colleges. In the west end of their delivery area the agency took over a failing daycare and now provide full day, full year Head Start services along with daycare to predominately African Americans. In 2002, the agency began a new center serving the Hispanic population.
In addition to providing centers in geographic areas where the need is high the Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. is the service agent for the Child Care Assistance Program and the Child Care Resource and Referral (R&R) program. The Child Care Assistance program provides much needed subsidies to low-income families, giving them access to quality child care. These subsidies, which pay all or a portion of the family’s childcare expenses, allow the parent to work, attend school or a training program with the goal of gaining self-sufficiency. In 2003, 10,866 families were served and $26,385,202 provider payments were made.
The Child Care Resource and Referral program provides supportive services to the various elements of the child care system. The program targets both the consumer and the provider of child care services with an emphasis on education. The R&R program stresses the responsibility of the parents in obtaining the highest quality child care available. To give parents the data necessary to make an informed decision, R&R furnishes educational materials, such as the statutes and regulations by which childcare providers must abide. A data base is maintained of all licensed certified and family day care centers with information about openings in their facilities.
The Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. operates in a collaborative manner with local school districts, the state funded pre-school program and the local United Way.
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