Three Garvin County child care centers have received approximately $8,000 in funding to implement the Strengthening Families Initiative in their centers. Great Beginnings Kiddie College and Delta Head Start, both in Pauls Valley, as well as Delta Head Start Lindsay, applied for and received funding for the child abuse and neglect prevention program.
The grant monies were made possible by Smart Start South Central Oklahoma, an East Central University-based program, with funding provided by Chesapeake Energy.
Parents and children from Delta Lindsay Head Start enjoy a soup dinner together on Parent Night. The center received a Strengthening Families grant from Smart Start South Central Oklahoma and Chesapeake Energy.
Each of the centers must receive training on the protective factors that the Strengthening Families Initiative has identified through its research. The purpose of the initiative is to proactively provide assistance where child neglect or abuse could occur. Since a majority of young children spend time in child care centers, it is a natural fit for child care center workers to serve as a support contact for parents.
Workers at each of the centers will be required to attend at least four hours of training which will be provided by ECU's Child Care Resource and Referral. The centers also will host parent meetings and training to help parents make connections with one another. The meetings will provide support and build valuable and needed bonds between child care center teachers and parents.
"My parents are looking forward to coming to training and have been very excited about this new program. We feel like it will help our center provide a very useful service to our families," said Debbie Welborn, Great Beginnings Kiddie College director. "Even good parents need support and help, and this grant is helping us to better serve them."
For more information about the Strengthening Families Initiative, contact Cindy Byrd, Strengthening Families grant coordinator, or Trish Little, Smart Start South Central Oklahoma community coordinator, at 580-559-5367. Both programs are housed in the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services at ECU.
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