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Head Start

Head Start is a no-cost, comprehensive preschool program for children ages 3-5 from low-income families. In Head Start, children grow and thrive in a supportive, nurturing environment where they and their families have options and opportunities for optimum growth, development, and learning.

Head Start provides children with experiences that help them develop awareness, problem solving skills, and self-confidence. The education program works to build skills in areas of small muscle, big muscle, independence, social/emotional, cognition, speech and language, and nutrition. Children develop the skills they need to successfully participate in school.

Health and Nutrition
The Health Program provides medical and dental services, including sight and hearing screenings, as well as necessary follow-up care. Head Start ensures that children’s physical needs are met by linking them with ongoing sources of medical and dental care. Practices are taught to prevent illness and injury and to promote positive health behaviors in the centers and at home.

Nutrition is an important part of the daily program. Children are served breakfast or healthy snack and a hot lunch every day. Health and nutrition lessons are taught to both parents and children. Head Start supplements and complements home nutrition, assisting families in meeting nutritional needs and in establishing good eating habits.

Head Start Families
Head Start families are strong and self-sufficient. Head Start helps families identify their strengths and interests and set goals for change and growth. Education opportunities in GED, employment, and parenting are offered. Parents are empowered in decision making and volunteer opportunities and are supported to become effective advocates for their child’s education. In partnership with other community resources, services to families are comprehensive and coordinated.

Children with Disabilities
Head Start also reaches out to children with disabilities. Head Start makes sure that children with physical, language, speech, vision, hearing, or mental health disabilities are identified early and that treatment is begun to minimize the effects.

Referrals
Any individual or agency can refer a child they feel could benefit from Head Start. All referrals and questions should be directed to Enrollment Staff by calling:
Union/Snyder Counties: 570-966-2845
Mifflin County: 717-242-3032

Community Involvement
The community is very involved in our Head Start program. Members of the community serve as volunteers in the centers, on the Policy Councils, and on the Board of Directors. We depend on community support as part of the “Local Share” to match the federal money that funds Head Start. One of Head Start’s broader goals is to work with communities to improve the quality of life for low-income families.

Head Start Funding
Head Start is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education Head Start State Supplemental Program. The SUMCD Head Start program also receives supplemental funding and support from the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Child and Adult Care Food Program), and the United Way.

NONDISCRIMINATION: In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) E-mail: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.