Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

December 30, 2009

CEFS to get nearly $1.8 million

EFFINGHAM — CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation is receiving nearly $1.8 million from federal stimulus money over the next two years to develop — and maintain — an Early Head Start program for children three years old and younger.

Connie Jerden, the agency’s Head Start director, said the grant period began Dec. 1 and will run through Sept. 29, 2011. In the first year, she said, the agency will receive $319,671 for start-up costs, $463,231 for a partial year of operations and $55,412 for training and technical assistance. In the second year, the agency will receive $929,462 to fund ongoing operations and $23,162 in technical and training assistance funds.

The total amount being granted is $1,787,938.

Jerden said the funding — from the American Reinvestment and Recovery (stimulus) Act — will enable CEFS to augment already existing Head Start services for children aged four and five.

“This grant will allow us to serve families earlier,” she said. “We’re excited about it because it’s a new way for us to serve families in our area.”

CEFS Head Start serves 467 families in Effingham, Clay, Fayette and Shelby counties. Jerden said the new program will serve about 72 infants and toddlers and expectant mothers in those four counties.

The first phase of the program will include hiring staff and providing ongoing support to that staff before actually providing services to families. Program staff also must recruit parents and children to participate in the program, as well as work closely with community partners and service providers to maximize the program’s benefits for participating families.

“The CEFS Early Head Start program will partner closely with local health departments, schools and child care providers to maintain a quality program service that maximizes critical impacts for children and families,” Jerden said.

Jerden added Early Head Start will offer home-based services to families that will bring staff into the home every week to support child development and nurture parent-child relationships.

For more information about the program, call Jerden at 217-342-2193, ext. 137, or by e-mail at cjerden@cefseoc.org.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

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