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Over $1.9 Million in Recovery Act Funds Awarded to Capital Area Head Start

Women care for children in classroom

(Harrisburg, PA – December 7, 2009) Capital Area Head Start (CAHS), a widely acclaimed program of Keystone Children & Family Services, has been selected to receive $1,920,078 over the next two years in new grant monies to expand its Early Head Start programming throughout the Greater Harrisburg region.

“It’s an incredible honor to have been selected for this grant,” comments Jo Pepper, Executive Director of CAHS. “Many deserving Early Childhood agencies applied for these federal monies, fully recognizing there were insufficient resources to fund every worthy proposal. The fact that Capital Area Head Start made the final cut in an extremely competitive environment is wonderful affirmation of Keystone’s long-standing reputation for strengthening vulnerable children and families.”

A total of $18.6 million was awarded to 19 providers throughout Pennsylvania by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The announcement was made by Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak and Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman.

Head Start was originally conceived in 1965 to promote school readiness and related services to preschoolers and their families who were living in poverty. After decades of Head Start success, the Early Head Start initiative was added in 1995 to expand services to children from birth to three years of age as well as pregnant women. This expansion reflected an increasing consensus among professionals regarding the importance of promoting healthy development in the child’s earliest years.

Comments Dennis Felty, President of Keystone Human Services (KC&FS’s parent organization),

“The Head Start model was conceived to create opportunities that can contribute to a stronger foundation for a productive life. With these additional monies, CAHS will now be able to broaden its reach with services that have a proven track record for empowering children and families at a very critical juncture in their development.”

This infusion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will allow nearly 1600 additional children across Pennsylvania to receive services in the coming years. Locally, this will include an additional 70 pregnant women, infants and toddlers, effectively doubling CAHS’s Early Head Start numbers. Thirty of these new slots are designated for Carlisle, an area previously served by CAHS but not for those eligible as part of the Early Head Start initiative.

With expanded programming poised to begin in February 2010, $819,550 of CAHS’s federal grant will be reserved for the second year to ensure continued services through September, 2011.

Jo Pepper adds, “Just as important as the delivery of services is the positive employment picture emanating from this federal grant. CAHS plans to hire 22 new employees, including an Early Head Start Director and two new EHS Coordinators.”

Those interested in applying for CAHS employment or enrolling their child in the expanded Early Head Start Program are encouraged to call (717) 541-1795. In addition to contacting CAHS directly, all inquiries regarding human services careers with Keystone as well as further information about their personalized support services should be directed to Calls are also welcome at (717) 232-7509.

Capital Area Head Start is a program of Keystone Children & Family Services, which in turn is the largest single agency of Keystone Human Services (KHS). Bringing approximately $140,000,000 in services to communities world-wide, KHS employs over 3,000 people who are dedicated to supporting individuals with autism, intellectual disabilities and mental illness as well as vulnerable children and families throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, parts of Delaware and Maryland as well as regions of Moldova and Russia. Keystone also consults with human service entities in Azerbaijan and South Africa.

Keystone Human Services and its family of agencies are dedicated to creating an environment where all people, regardless of background and ‘ability,’ can grow, make choices, and be valued and contributing members of their community.

Recovery: In Our Own Words


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