The Early Head Start program provides services to improve early childhood development and prepare parents to be self-sufficient.
Early Head Start (EHS) is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Headstart that provides family-centered services for low-income families with very young children.
The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana is the grantee for the EHS program in Ouachita Parish, according to Thom Rogers, EHS Compliance Coordinator at the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana.
“We target children from pregnant mother up to the age of three,” said Rogers. “And the reason we zero in on that age group is because early childhood development, 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before the age of four.”
Rogers explained that not only does EHS provide comprehensive development and family support services for children, but EHS also provides parents with services to help them gain self-sufficiency and economic mobility.
“What that looks like would be an example of a high school dropout who is also a pregnant mother,” said Rogers. “We would bring her into the program, make sure she’s getting the prenatal visits and the supplements she needs with our social workers that are in-house as well as once the baby is born, we will bring them into either a home-based or our center-based programs.”
Rogers explained that the child will begin receiving comprehensive school readiness care while social workers help the mother find resources to earn her GED, explore college applications and prepare her for job interviews.
Parents can visit www.chidlrenscoalition.org to learn more about the EHS program.