Family Development Services, Inc.(FDS) proposes to establish an Early Head Start Program that will serve 128 eligible pregnant women, infants and toddlers ages zero to three in Marion and Hamilton Counties, Indiana. The program will be operated in a manner that is consistent and complimentary to our existing Head Start program in order to create a continuum of services for low Income children ages zero through five.
Family Development Services recently updated community needs assessment identifies a below poverty level county population of 7600 low-income children ages zero to five. Many of these children are siblings of current Head Start enrollees. In addition local public schools are struggling to generate support services to prevent pregnant and parenting teens from dropping out of school. Marion County high schools are reporting rapidly increasing incidences of teen pregnancies occurring with over 1200 teen births reported in 1995, giving It a higher teen birth rate than any other area in the state.
FDS proposes directing its Early Head Start Program to five specific target populations:
1) younger siblings of regular Head Start enrollees1
2) teenage mothers at two area high schools,
3) children in two target low-income neighborhoods,
4) children participating in First Steps Early Intervention Services and
5) homeless or displaced children. -
Our proposed Early Head Start program would provide comprehensive services to children and families to include full day child development slots fir forty-four (44) Infants and forty-four (44) toddlers, and to forty (40) pregnant women.
Special emphasis will be placed on maternal and child health, parenting education, and child development education for pregnant women.
Program implementation will involve a very high level of coordination with two high schools that have both taken a very keen interest in the working with FDS to bring services for teen parents and pregnant students. Roth schools have committed to make the project work successfully. In addition there are several other critical collaborators in the project: public health agencies, a vast array of homeless serving organizations, and other community based organizations
Family Development Services has been the community Head Start grantee only since 1997, however the staff that work in the program have been with the program for an exceptionally long time. The name on the door changed but virtually everything else remained the same. The Head Start program is currently sewing approximately 1871 children and their families.