05 February 2010

Shelby County receives $1.6 million to expand accessibility to Early Head Start programs

Research shows that at-risk children who have the benefit of Early Head Start experience improved cognitive, social, and emotional development. EHS children score higher on language growth measurements, display fewer behavioral problems, interact more positively with adults, and are less likely to test into the “at-risk” category of developmental performance. Children in EHS are more likely to receive immunizations on time and to visit a physician due to illness. Moreover, parents of EHS children are more likely to engage in practices that support early learning, read to their children daily, attend school functions, and provide emotional support.

Early Head Start is a program designed to serve children from birth through age three. Early Head Start offers center-based care, home-based prenatal care, parental support, age appropriate learning, medical services, disability and mental health screenings, evaluations, and early intervention services.

Currently, there are 12,479 children income eligible for Early Head Start in Shelby County. However, there are spots available for less than one percent of these children. Limited space may be expanding as the Department of Health and Human Services announces an additional $1.6 million in grants to expand EHS in Shelby County.

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