Continued success and growth of the Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. Head Start program is attributed to the agencies leadership in addressing the community’s child care needs and providing vital support services to each family they serve. The Head Start received the Program of Achievement award in 2000, and the Program of Excellence award from 2000-2003 and now in 2003-2006 from the National Head Start Association.
The . (A.B.C.D.) in has provided quality child care and Head Start programs for more than thirty years. The city of Bridgeport is one of the bigger cities in the state with a population of 141,686. In 2002, the child care expanded year-round, full-time comprehensive child care services to over 120 new families through a combination of State Head Start funding and the School readiness initiative. In 2003, the agency added 116 additional full day, full year slots. In 2003, 700 children received child care services with 600 families receiving full-day full-year services.
The child care division’s mission is to empower families so they may overcome the impact of poverty and to improve the quality of life for all family members. Priority access to child care was offered to families moving from welfare to work. In 2003, seventy five parents were trained in the area of child care and who now work regularly as paid substitutes in the classrooms. A new entry level position of teacher’s aide was developed providing more employment opportunities for the parents they serve. Parents pay a sliding fee for child care services.
A lesson learned along the way for the A.B.C.D. Head Start program was the ability to recoup costs over the summer months when day care is provided rather than full day Head Start. The staff requirements are not as stringent for a day care; therefore, the daily per diem is reduced by over half.
The child care division maintains many collaborative relationships with agencies serving children and families including the Bridgeport Board of Education, the Stratford Board
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