Representatives DeSaulnier and Thompson Announce $1.06 Million Head Start Grant for Contra Costa County

June 15, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) today announced a $1,062,176 Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership grant for Contra Costa County. The funding made available by this grant will be used to provide Early Head Start services to 72 children and their families at 20 licensed Family Child Care homes and two centers throughout Contra Costa County.

The Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership grant is unique in that it allows agencies to partner with local providers who are already serving children through state subsidies, the goal being to strengthen existing programs by bringing Head Start’s comprehensive services directly to children and their families.

"Head Start and Early Head Start programs are of tremendous value to our community,” said Rep. Thompson. "I am proud to have helped secure these federal funds, which will help make sure all students, regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make, have equal access to a quality education from the day they first step foot in a classroom.”

“As a former Head Start Commissioner, I have witnessed firsthand the positives effects these programs have on exciting students, empowering communities, and strengthening the future of America. Thanks in large part to Head Start services, I have seen students regardless of socioeconomic status across Contra Costa County succeed. I look forward to watching the impact this grant will have on our students and our community,” said Rep. DeSaulnier.

"We are excited to have successfully completed an 18 month start up period for this grant and to be formally beginning year one of the five year grant cycle for the Early Head Start –Child Care Partnership. Our partners, the Contra Costa Child Care Council and First Baptist Head Start, are committed to the partnership and are high quality programs to begin with, making the start-up an easy and fruitful process as we learn together. Most encouraging is hearing our regional office remark that they, too, are learning alongside of the newly funded program,” said Christina Reich, Division Manager at the Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department.

Specifically, the funds will be used to:

  • Increase Head Start enrollment in Early Head Start; now serving 383 infants and toddlers in Contra Costa County.
  • Incentivize local partnerships between Early Head Start programs and community-based child care programs to increase the number of infants and toddlers in high quality early learning programs.
  • Increase rate of pay for Family Child Care Providers, thereby building the workforce.
  • Increase teacher qualifications, safety standards, educational standards, and family and community engagement opportunities through strict adherence to the Head Start Performance Standards.

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness for children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services.

For every dollar spent on Head Start, our country realizes almost nine dollars in benefits through participants' increased earnings, decreased welfare dependence and other factors.

Head Start was founded as part of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty in 1965. Since then, Head Start has grown from an eight-week demonstration project to include full day/year services and numerous program options. Head Start has served over 31 million children and their families in urban and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories.

The reauthorization of the Head Start Act in 1994 made it possible to establish Early Head Start as a program to serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3 and pregnant women. Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families.