Thompson Announces More Than $1.1 Million Grant for Huntingdon County Head Start, Early Head Start

Jan 18, 2018 Issues: Education

HCCADC serves hundreds of children in Huntingdon region through early education programs

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Today, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded Huntingdon County Child and Adult Development Corporation (HCCADC) a federal grant in the amount of $1,123,161 for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

HCCADC has offered Head Start for the families of Huntingdon County since 1977.  In 1999, it began to offer Early Head Start. The nonprofit continues to meet the needs in the community by developing programs and services to support children and their families.  

Head Start is a pre-school program that aids eligible 3- to 5-year-old children and their families. Early Head Start is a home based program for eligible families with pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to the age of 3. Both programs provide support for low-income families and provide development programs to promote the well-being of young children.

Early Head Start

HCCADC’s Early Head Start serves 72 children birth to 3-years-old in a home-based setting.  Staff visit each child in their home on a weekly basis and supports the parent as the primary educator of their child. They also come into an infant/toddler classroom setting two times per month with their parents to interact with other children and their families. 

Head Start

Children 3- to 5-years-old are served in a center-based option. Classes operate both 3.5 hours per day four days per week and 6 hours per day, 5 days per week. Classrooms are located in: Mount Union, Huntingdon, Huntingdon High School, Mapleton, Orbisonia, Southern Huntingdon High School, Alexandria and Broad Top.

HCCADC’s Head Start serves 215 children. There is also one home-based group in preschool for children that live outside of HCCADC’s bus zones or are not ready for a classroom setting. Ninety-five percent of children enrolled in the Head Start program for two years either met or exceeded age expectations when entering kindergarten.

Head Start’s focus is school readiness through comprehensive services. Children receive health and developmental screenings and ongoing assessments so staff can best meet the needs of each individual child. Families and the community are also critical to school readiness and are involved in Head Start in many ways. Families are invited to Fun Days, Literacy Nights, Parent meetings, Health Fairs, Healthy Kids Club through Penn State University, classroom activities and Fatherhood/Men’s groups activities to name a few, said HCCADC’s Executive Director Louise Ketner.

“The saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ is also true when it comes to Head Start and school readiness,” Ketner said.  “It takes parents, school districts, community agencies, health care providers, dentists, volunteers, qualified staff and quality services to prepare a child for school success and Huntingdon County Head Start maximizes those resources for the betterment of children and communities.”

“This grant will be instrumental in delivering early childhood education programs throughout the area, and I am pleased that HCCADC will continue to provide quality, comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parental involvement services for the region,” Rep. Thompson said. “By providing early learning experiences, we are helping children become life-long learners, which will lead to future successes within the community and workforce.”

HOW TO SIGN UP: Services are free to eligible children and families can get more information by calling 814-643-6800. Families who have children with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Apply now for next school year or to be considered if a vacancy exists during this school year.