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Children’s Center gets big grant

The Children’s Center in Suffolk will expand its space, its service and its staff following the receipt of federal grants worth more than a million dollars.

The Center’s locations in Suffolk and Franklin will both benefit from the grants, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

In Suffolk, the Center will build an addition to the current Suffolk Children’s Center at 300 Executive Court. The expansion there will include the hiring of approximately 38 new employees, and services will be broadened to allow additional children to attend the center daily and to provide some home-based support.

The Texie Camp Marks Children’s Center in Franklin will be renovated and its services expanded, including the provision of some home-based services. With the grant funding, services there will expand to cover more than 170 children and eight pregnant women.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide services to these additional children and women,” said Barbara Mease, executive director of the Children’s Center. “After careful research of Western Tidewater, we decided to apply for this expansion after we determined that there was is a need for Early Head Start services in the region. We are fortunate that our community partners — Smart Beginnings Western Tidewater, Camp Foundations, Hampton Roads Foundation, Beazley Foundation and Bank of America Foundation have supported our efforts to raise the matching funds required for this project.”

Early Head Start requires that the community provide $1 for every $4 of federal funds.

The expansion marks the second increase in Early Head Start funding for the Children’s Center. The Center also received expansion money in 2000.

The Early Head Start program provides early childhood education, family, and health services to low-income pregnant women and families with children under the age of three.

All children are provided with developmental screenings. Services for the families are offered through a variety of options, including full-time and part-time childcare and home visits for parent education and support. Children who have disabilities are included.

The Children’s Center is a private, nonprofit organization that has served families living in Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Franklin and Southampton since 1983. It serves children of all levels of ability, including those with disabilities, and those who are economically disadvantaged.

The Children’s Center’s mission is to nurture and educate children and their families through a professional staff dedicated to enhancing each child’s potential with creative, quality programs.

The Children’s Center also provides early intervention to infants and toddlers with delays in development, licensed pediatric therapy, and licensed community childcare for children six weeks to 12 years of age. These programs are provided in the child’s home and in integrated settings at five sites throughout Western Tidewater.