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The Children’s Center receives grant

The Children’s Center, a local nonprofit organization, received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its Early Head Start Program.

This grant increased The Children’s Center’s budget by $356,381 to provide 24 new slots and to increase funding for operations and training and technical assistance in the city of Suffolk and Franklin as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

“I am proud to announce that we have been awarded this grant from the Office of Head Start that is supported through our partnership with Obici Healthcare Foundation and our community,” said Tamie Rittenhouse, Head Start director at The Children’s Center. “Many families rely on our home-based program, and through this grant, we will be able to provide services to even more families. We are looking forward to working with these pregnant mothers and children to help them thrive and succeed.”

Early Head Start is a federally funded program providing comprehensive resources to those who meet eligibility criteria of being at or below the federal poverty level or meet the categorical standards of homelessness, public assistance or foster care. This grant, along with its current federal funding, will help provide more educational and developmental services to low-income children, ages birth to 3, and pregnant mothers in the community.

According to Rittenhouse, one in three families could benefit from home visits, but only 10% have access to the help they need. This data helped The Children’s Center receive this grant, as it is evident that this is a need that families could benefit from in the Western Tidewater area.

“It is unique that it focuses on a comprehensive services approach with a focus on the health and the wellbeing of the whole family,” said Rittenhouse. “It’s a partnership to set goals with the families for growth and self-sufficiency.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the home meetings have been virtual, but The Children’s Center is ready to get back out to the families they currently partner with and the new ones to come.

To learn more about the Early Head Start program or to register, visit childrenscenterva.com.