Community Assessment - 2014

 

  Washington County Economic

Opportunity Council, Inc.

 

 

Head Start/

Early Head Start

 

Community Assessment

2014

Community Assessment

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction & Overview........................................... 3

 

Methodology......................................................... 4

 

Required Elements:

Section 1

      Demographics................................................. 5

 

Section 2

      Other Child Development & Child Care Programs

      that serve HS eligible children..........................................................8

 

Section 3

      Children with Disabilities..................................... 11

 

Section 4

        Data: Education, Health, Nutrition & Social Service Needs...... 13

 

Section 5

      Education, Health, Nutrition & Social Service Needs, defined by HS   eligible children, families & organizations that serve them...................... 17

 

Section 6

      Community Resources to Address Needs................... 20

 

Summary............................................................. 24

 

Sources.......................................................................................................................28

Community Assessment

 

Introduction & Overview

 

This Community Needs Assessment is presented in accordance with Head Start Performance Standard 1305.3(c):

 

The Community Assessment must include the collection and analysis of the following information about the grantee's Head Start/Early Head Start area:

  1. Demographic make-up of Head Start eligible children and families, including their estimated number, geographic location, and racial and ethnic composition.
  2. Other child development and child care programs that are serving Head Start eligible children, including publicly funded State and local preschool programs, and the approximate number of Head Start eligible children served by each.
  3. The estimated number of children with disabilities four years old or younger, including the types of disabilities and relevant services and resources provided to these children by community agencies.
  4. Data regarding the education, health, nutrition and social service needs of Head Start eligible children and their families.
  5. The education, health, nutrition and social service needs of Head Start eligible children and their families as defined by the families of Head Start eligible children and by institutions in the community that serve young children.
  6. Resources in the community that could be used to address the needs of Head Start eligible children and their families, including assessments of their availability and accessibility.

 

Results of the Community Assessment drive program planning and design.  An analysis of the Community Assessment data will help determine long and short range goals, frame component services and options, identify recruitment strategies, and selection criteria.

 

We also plan to advocate in the community for services that are lacking, and to strengthen our collaborations with community agencies and providers.

 

Methodology

 

A Community Assessment (CA) has been conducted every three years by the Washington County EOC Head Start/Early Head Start program and is updated on an annual basis.  The most recent full Community Assessment was completed in 2013. 

 

The Community Assessment for 2014 includes updates since the full assessment was done.  This update helps to develop solid strategies for continuous quality improvement and to aid in planning moving forward.

 

The Community Assessment is structured to include information on the specific requirements per the Performance Standards to help the Board and Policy Council better understand the content and purpose of the Community Assessment.  It covers our defined service area for Head Start and Early Head Start: Washington County, New York.

 

The in-depth CA process involves staff, enrolled families, Policy Council, Board Members, community organizations and community members. 

 

The following methods are employed to collect data for the CA:

  • Focus groups
  • Surveys and Evaluations
  • Surveys, in-person and telephone interviews conducted with local agencies, public and private schools and preschools, and service providers.
  • Examination of Comprehensive Assessments specific to Washington County
  • Review of Statewide public reports
  • Internet research of public information databases (Department of Education, Department of Labor, Census, etc)
  • Review of key program data (PIR, Self Assessment)

 

Washington County EOC Head Start/Early Head Start continues to assess changes that are taking place in our communities and the needs that may be addressed through Head Start/Early Head Start and community services. 

 

Section 1

Demographics

 

Washington County is located in rural northeastern New York State, between the eastern bank of the Hudson River and the western border of Vermont.  The county is 82 miles long, north to south, and varies from 14 to 26 miles wide, with a total of 835.44 square miles.  The land is classified as 55% woodland, 32% agriculture, and 13% villages and towns.  The countryside holds an abundance of historic sites.  The scenic patchwork of fields and forests add to the beauty and quality of life in the County and at the same time reflects the relative scarcity of concentrations of inhabitants, industry and services.

 

Population:   Geographic location, demographic make-up, estimated number, racial and ethnic composition

 

General Demographic Information:  The population of Washington County is primarily rural, with a population of 63,188.  The largest single population center is the town of Kingsbury, with 11,171 people.  There are seventeen towns countywide, with populations in other towns ranging from 24 to 7,562.   

 

Children in Washington County within Head Start/Early Head Start's identified age range, birth through age 5, account for 6% of the population, or 3,791 children.

 

The population is racially and ethnically homogeneous, with 95% classified as white, 3% African-American and the remaining 2% Latino, Pakistani, American Indian and Asian.  Ninety-seven percent of the population is English speaking. 

 

Poverty in Washington County:  The following is based on information from the New York State Community Action Association's 2012 Poverty Report and New York State Kidscount Data Book 2012

  • Overall Poverty Rate in Washington County= 12.9%
  • Childhood Poverty Rate in Washington County= 18.5%
  • Overall estimate of children under age 5 living in poverty= 701 (Potential Head Start enrollees)

 

 

 

Childhood Poverty Estimates by Towns in Washington County:   

The following table reflects estimated number of families with children that have income at or below poverty level in each Washington County Town.  (NYS Kidscount Data Book 2012):

 

TOWN

ESTIMATED RATE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY

Dresden

50%

Easton

19.4%

Fort Edward

18.9%

Granville

18.5%

Jackson

18.5%

Hebron

17.3%

Hampton

16.3%

Cambridge

13.6%

White Creek

13.5%

Putnam

11.9%

Kingsbury

11.7%

Argyle

11.3%

Salem

11.3%

Greenwich

10.5%

Whitehall

10.3%

Fort Ann

6.9%

Hartford

1.9%


 

Race/Ethnicity/Primary Language of Head Start Eligible Children/Families

Based on the most recent Head Start and Early Head Start's Program Information Reports (PIR), race, ethnicity, and primary language data for Head Start eligible families closely mirrors that of the population at large in Washington County:

          RACE:

  • 85% White
  • 10% Biracial/Multiracial
  • 1.9% Other
  • 1.3% African American
  • 1.1% Asian
  • 0.7% Native American

 

ETHNICITY:

  • 94.8% Non-Hispanic
  • 5.2% Hispanic

   

    PRIMARY LANGUAGE:

LANGUAGE

% of Head Start/EHS Families

English

97.3%

Spanish

1.0%

Central American, South American, Mexican

 

0.85%

East Asian

0.64%

European/Slavic

0.21%


 

 

Industry and Employment:  For many decades the major economic force within the County has been dairy farming.  Washington County has no major industry or business to "carry" the county economically.  Manufacturing and agri-business have grown slightly in the past ten years as family farms have gone out of business.  There are a limited number of manufacturing plants still operating in the county, although many have closed or downsized within the last two decades.  The mining of slate is still a viable industry along the Vermont border, providing minimum wage jobs to many Head Start/Early Head Start parents. 

 

Although Washington County's Unemployment Rate, 5.0% as of August 2014, is below the NY State rate of 6.1%, there are many families "underemployed" and struggling to maintain a living wage.  43% of the county's employed adults are employed outside this county.

 

There are many new families facing economic hardships and therefore, may be eligible for services that they may not even be aware of.  A new challenge and opportunity facing Head Start is to raise awareness of the program with these families, which is critical in providing them with support and resources as they face economic obstacles.   We will be exploring the options to reach out to this growing population, including updating the website and alternate methods of recruitment.

 

 

 

Section 2

Child Development and Child Care Programs Serving Head Start Eligible Children

 

The following is based on information contained in the Southern Adirondack Child Care Network's 2012 Child Care Community Needs Assessment.

 

Head Start/Early Head Start is a major provider of care to children under age 5 in Washington County.  The following Washington County information does not reflect Head Start numbers:

  • Number of Day Care Centers 2
  • Number of Family Day Care Homes: 71
  • Number of Slots for Children ages Birth-5 945
  • Estimated % of HS Eligible children served 5.2%

 

Trends noted in SACCN Assessment:

  • Requests for day care referrals are down 50% since 2008
  • Day Care providers report that enrollment is down 54% in that same time frame
  • Number of Infants in Day Care has dropped 50% since 2009
  • The number of families with referral through SACCN with a day care subsidy has dropped 50% since 2011
  • Surveys identified unemployment and underemployment as the main contributing factors in the drop in children in day care
  • Families report using relative care or choose to provide their own care rather than seek day care providers
  • Greatest Need: Child care during non-traditional hours/days (night shifts, rotating days, swing shifts: many employed in retail, service/hospitality, manufacturing)

 

Other Programs:  Pre Kindergarten programs are provided in 7 of the 10 school districts in Washington County.   All 7 offer Universal Pre-Kindergarten.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

This table outlines Pre-K services in Washington County:

School District

Total # of Slots

# of Sessions/Classrooms

Notes

Argyle

No Pre K

0

 

Cambridge

18

1 (AM)

Fully Enrolled at 18*

Fort Ann

36

2 (1 AM/1 PM)

Under-enrolled at 24*

Fort Edward

36

2 (1 AM/1 PM)

Under-Enrolled at 25*

Granville

36

2 (1 AM/1 PM)

Under-Enrolled at 34*

Greenwich

No Pre K

0

 

Hartford

30

2 (1 AM/1 PM)

Under-Enrolled at 23*

Hudson Falls

144

8 (4 AM/4 PM)

Under-Enrolled at 88*

Salem

No Pre K

0

Planning to open UPK 2015-16 School Year

Whitehall

30

2 (1 AM/1 PM)

Under-Enrolled at 24*


*Pre-K Enrollment numbers as of 9/24/14

 

As noted in the above table, six of the seven Pre-K programs have struggled to keep their programs fully enrolled.  Cambridge, the smallest program, is the only Pre-K with full enrollment at this time. 

 

The current Pre-K system has also presented an enrollment challenge for Head Start, in some ways creating competition.  Families often feel it is in the best interest of their children to choose one program or the other.  For this reason, we have struggled to maintain enrollment in Head Start classrooms, especially among 4 year old children.  This presents challenges in the classroom setting, as more 3 year olds are represented in the classroom composition.  Classroom staff reports that pre-school classrooms are functioning more like toddler classrooms in many instances.

 

 

 

This has affected Head Start Home-Based as well, and we typically see a single digit waiting list.

 

We make every effort to minimize enrollment challenges by collaborating with the local school districts to dually enroll children (attend both Pre-K and Head Start).  We provide bussing to and from Pre-K programs whenever possible, and work with school districts to coordinate AM/PM schedules to meet the school and families' needs.  We also collaborate with the schools to identify eligible Pre-K children who may be best served through Home-Based programming.  This allows the child to attend Pre-K with the school district, and also receive weekly home visits from Head Start.

 

Despite these efforts, we still find struggles to maintain full Head Start enrollment.  Furthermore, we project that we will continue to have challenges with enrollment of Head Start children.  New York State has provided opportunities for Pre-K expansion of slots or extension from half day to full day for school districts.  As the table indicates, Salem School District is in the planning stages of opening a Pre-K classroom for the 2015-16 school year.  This could affect our ability to enroll Head Start children in the southern region of Washington County.  This could affect enrollment at the Cambridge Center as well as Home-Based children in Southern Washington County.

 

While maintaining Head Start enrollment has been challenging, the demand for Early Head Start services has been consistently high.  Waiting lists are lengthy for families looking for support for their children at a developmentally critical time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 3

Children with Disabilities

          Estimated number of children age four and under with disabilities, and the   type of disabilities and relevant resources and services.

 

          The following data was provided by Washington County Public Health, Washington County Children with Special Needs Program.  This compares     July 2012-June 2013 data to July 2013-June 2014 data.

 

Early Intervention Program:  Serves children with disabilities, Birth through Age 3

                                                                                 2012-13     2013-14

  • Total Number of Referrals: 179 224
  • Total Number of Eligible children 58 69

          (Identified as having Developmental Delay)

  • Number of Children evaluated but not Eligible 72 74
  • Total Number of Children Receiving Services 156 256

          (Evaluated & have IFSP)

 

Pre-School Special Education:  Serves preschoolers with disabilities, ages 3-5

                                                                                       2012-13   2013-14

  • Number of Children under age 4 receiving services 133 257
  • Number of Children who turned age 5 83 151

 

Classification in this age range: Non-Categorical Developmental Delay

 

Program Data:  Based on 2013-2014 PIR Data

  • 91 enrolled Head Start children had an IEP, Classified with Non-Categorical Developmental Delay
  • 19 Early Head Start children had an IFSP and received Early Intervention Services
  • The percentage of children with disabilities is consistently in the 20-25% range.

 

Therapies are provided in all Head Start/Early Head Start centers by therapists through Washington County Public Health.

 

In addition to children diagnosed with a disability, we are serving an increasing population of children with extreme and often dangerous social and emotional behaviors.

 

     Resources/Services:  United Cerebral Palsy/Prospect Child and Family          Center:  A developmental center located in nearby Queensbury serving children with physical, social/emotional and developmental disabilities. 

 

The center runs two therapeutic classrooms, and other small classrooms for preschoolers and older children throughout the two counties of Warren and Washington.  Up until 2010, The Prospect Center "rented" a classroom from Washington County Head Start, at our River Street Site in Hudson Falls.  Due to low enrollment, they decided to cease programming at our site, but continue to offer services at their center.

         

Washington County Public Health Coordinates services to children with disabilities.

 

Despite the fact that the program employs a Disabilities Manager, Mental Health Counselors and consults with a Licensed Psychologist, there are an increasing number of children who require modified programming with regular home visits and SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) or Inclusion Aide coverage for limited hours of a group/center based experience.  Historically, HS/EHS has been able to temporarily fund Inclusion Aides to support classrooms until the child is approved for a funded Inclusion Aide.  Due to funding cuts last year, we were not able to fund these temporary positions.  This created extra challenges for classroom management and quality instruction.  With the restoration of funds this year, we will once again have the ability to fund these temporary supports.

 

There are concerns regarding the future of funding for the Inclusion Aides, and cuts in this area would have great impact on our program.  We will continue to monitor this closely and will need to think strategically to fill this void, should these services receive funding cuts.

 

 

 

Section 4

Data:  Education, Health, Nutrition, and Social Service Needs

of Head Start eligible children and families

 

Education, HS Eligible Children:  The expansion of Universal Pre K has and will continue to create educational opportunities for 4 year olds in Washington County, including children eligible for Head Start.  As noted earlier, this also creates enrollment challenges for the program for Head Start slots.

 

Based on enrollment data, including waitlist data, we still have a great need for slots for Early Head Start children.  The waiting list for Early Head Start is consistently above 80 children, while the Head Start waiting list averages around 50 children, and is projected to decrease due to federal and state preschool initiatives.  Head Start Home-Based waiting list is consistently below 10 children.

 

Education, HS Eligible Families:

Drop Out Rates/High School Education

According to the NYS Department of Education, the High School Dropout Rate for Washington County is 2.0%, which is reflective of this Region of New York State (2.1%).   In addition, Census data shows that 13.31% of Washington County adults have less than a High School Diploma.

 

The Head Start/EHS PIR Data greatly differs from that of the general population in Washington County.  Data shows that 132 of 450 Head Start parents or 29.33% have less than a High School Diploma/GED.

 

Higher Education:

The NYS Community Action Association Poverty Report reports that 17.6% of Washington County residents have a Bachelor's Degree. 

 

For families living in poverty; however, this number drops to 3.7%.  For Head Start families, 14 of 450 or 3.1% of parents have a Bachelors Degree or greater.

 

 

 

 

Health and Nutrition Data:

Community Identified Needs:  The Adirondack Rural Health Network's, Building Healthy Communities, Health Assessment and Community Service Plan outlined top priorities in our community:

  1. Physical Activity and Nutrition
  2. Chronic Disease
  3. Access to Quality Healthcare

 

In response, a County-wide survey in November 2011 with the Physical Activity and Nutrition Assessment: Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play, was distributed.  As a result, the following strategies were outlined:

 

        Increase opportunities for physical activity

  1.  
    • Create safe areas for children to walk to school
    • Improve walkability of streets/sidewalks
    • Make parks and recreation areas safe so they are used more

          Nutrition:

  • Increase the amount of local fresh fruits/vegetables served in schools
  • Encourage sale of local produce in grocery stores
  • Protect farmland

 

Head Start recognizes these priorities among low-income children and families as well.  These are some examples of the program's commitment to physical activity and good nutrition:

  • I am Moving, I am Learning
  • Eat Well, Play Hard
  • Cookshops for parents
  • Healthy recipes sent home
  • Variety of fresh fruits and vegetables served to children
  • Snacks and Cooking Activity for Home Visits
  • Structured time to play outdoors every day
  • Family style meals
  • Field trips/community experiences related to farms/food production
  • Nutrition Policy:  Longstanding policy of modeling the best practice (no junk food/no empty calorie food)

Other Key Health Data:  (All from NYSCAA Poverty Report unless otherwise noted)

  • Infant Mortality Rate 6.2 per 1,000 (NYS Kidscount Data Book 2012)
  • Children with Low Birth Weight 9.9%
  • Children Eligible for Free/Reduced

     School Lunch                                                        45%

  • Employed Families with No Health Insurance 12.8%
  • Unemployed Families with No Health Ins 36.7%

 

PIR Health Data:

Overall, children enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start have successfully gained access to health care and follow up care as needed, and tend to have Health Insurance coverage, as reflected in the table below.

 

This data is from the PIR 2013-14:

Data Indicator

# EHS Children

(Out of 154)

# HS Children

(Out of 323)

Children with Health Insurance coverage

141

302

Received Treatment for a Chronic Condition

24

(asthma was most common)

76

(asthma was most common)

Up to Date on Primary Health Care

141

317

Dental Home/Oral Care Current

121

265


 

Body Mass Index:  PIR Data showed that most enrolled children were at a healthy BMI, but there is still room to improve these numbers:

BMI Category

% of Enrolled Children

Under

5.9%

Healthy

62.5%

Over

13.3%

Obese

18.3%


 

 

Social Service Needs:

According to information provided by the Washington County Department of Social Services in 2013, this shows the number of children under age 18 in Washington County receiving Social Service supports:

Temporary Assistance

195

Medicaid

455

SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps)

2,134


 

 

According to the PIR data, these were the most common supports received by Head Start families:

Support

# EHS Children

# HS Children

Temporary Assistance

84

92

WIC

96

179

SSI

36

58

SNAP

72

159


 

 

These are the Top 5 Family Services provided to Head Start and Early Head Start families in 2012-2013:

Ranking

Service Type

Early Head Start

Service Type

Head Start

1

Parenting Education

Health Education

2

Health Education

Parenting Education

3

Emergency Food, Clothing, Shelter

Emergency Food, Clothing, Shelter

4

Housing-Related Assistance (Utilities, fuel, rent)

Mental Health Services

5

Child Abuse & Neglect Services

Housing-Related Assistance (Utilities, fuel, rent)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 5

Education, Health, Nutrition, and Social Service Needs of Head Start Eligible Children and Families, (Defined by these Families and Community Institutions that Serve Them)

 

Clear themes begin to arise when data is compared to what Head Start eligible families identify as priority needs.  These are the most common issues raised:

  • Transportation
  • Food Resources (SNAP funding cut)
  • Living Wage Employment
  • GED opportunities in rural communities
  • Utility, Fuel, and Home Repair/Maintenance Resources
  • Specialty Dental Providers that accept Medicaid
  • Mental Health supports/services for preschool children
  • Child Care:  High quality, affordable during non-traditional hours and weekends

 

Rural Needs for Transportation a Key Issue:  The rural expanse of Washington County greatly affects how low-income families use services, find and keep jobs, and care for themselves and their children.  Isolation and lack of transportation are enormous factors influencing every aspect of life for families in need. 

 

Transportation challenges Include:

  • Average commute for Washington County worker is 25 minutes
  • There is no public transportation available in Washington County except for a limited bus service within the Hudson Falls/Fort Edward area. 
  • Roads in the county are winding and hilly, and covered with snow and ice from mid-November through mid-April. 
  • There are many county roads that are unpaved. 

 

Community resources are, for the most part, located in the population centers of Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, or in Glens Falls, Warren County.  Many families in the Head Start/Early Head Start program do not have a car or access to reliable transportation.  For them, the simple task of shopping for food or getting to work can be daunting. 

 

There are few major grocery stores in the county.  Accessibility to food markets, commodity distribution sites and supplemental food programs is greatly reduced by transportation constraints.  Comparison shopping and long range purchasing becomes next to impossible in these circumstances.  Within the last 3 years; however, two local Stewarts Shops in Argyle and Whitehall, now accept WIC.

 

The average distance to services for rural families is 2 miles to a small local convenience store, 5.9 miles to a doctor, 2.5 miles to a post office, 10 miles to a full-service grocery store and 15 miles to a hospital.

 

Living Wage & Education:

There is a clear need to provide information about and increase access to GED programs, especially in the communities outside of the Hudson Falls/Fort Edward area.  Again, access can be limited depending upon the family's ability to find reliable transportation.  With over 29% of Head Start parents without a High School diploma, a barrier exists to living wage employment.

 

Housing Related Issues:  Most families currently enrolled in Head Start/Early Head Start are living in rental homes or apartments.  This is an issue for many, as affordable, safe rentals can be difficult to obtain.  The shortage of available housing most often affects low-income families, resulting in large numbers of Head Start families living in sub-standard conditions such as incomplete plumbing, overcrowding, or violations of the housing code.  In Washington County, many rental units consist of older housing stock.  41.4% of the housing stock was built before 1939, while only 1.3% consists of housing built since 1999.

 

Along with rental issues, families often find it difficult to afford heating costs in the winter, and struggle with other utility costs year round.  Although many apply for HEAP, there is still a gap. 

 

For those that own a home, regular maintenance can be challenging to afford, and often results in major repairs that go without resolution.

 

Food Resources:

Our Community Partners and families alike, report increased use of food pantries, which is compounded by limited resources due to recent funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Most food pantries have a limit on the amount of trips a family can make to access food.  Many pantries are reporting problems keeping enough food on the shelves to serve the community needs.

 

Mental Health

Access to mental health services is limited by transportation availability to a large degree.  There are four outpatient clinics, all located in the Hudson Falls-Glens Falls area.  At this time, three of these clinics provide outreach mental health services on a part time basis in two villages.

 

Finding services that address the Mental Health needs of children under age 5 is a challenge.  This is a growing need that has presented itself in the classroom and in the home.  The program employs two Mental Health Counselors and a Psychologist is available for consultation with staff and families.

 

Dental Services

Adequate health insurance coverage for adults in poverty continues to be a concern, especially in the area of dental health.  One resource for our families is the Adirondack Health Institute, which provides a health insurance advocate program to provide information, referrals, and advocacy to families in need of health insurance.

 

We have secured collaborative relationships/partnerships with many area dentists who assist families who are not able to otherwise obtain services.  The greatest gap at this time is identifying dental specialists who accept Medicaid.  Often these specialists are out of the area and families need assistance with transportation to gain access to the few options available.

 

 

Dialogues with Parents:  We continue to hold dialogues with Washington County parents to try to accurately assess the concerns expressed by families, how they reflect upon the services needed, and how these services can best be provided with the Washington County network of agencies and programs.  We have sent a written survey to families, conducted our yearly Self-Assessment, updated the Community Assessment, and discussed issues at Policy Council.

 

 

Section 6

Community Strengths & Resources to Address Needs

 

Accessing Services in this Rural County:

Washington County does not have an abundance of services to offer to low-income children and families.

 

The county is almost 90 miles long, north to south, and the majority of services available are located in the central communities of Hudson Falls and Fort Edward.  Transportation to services is almost non-existent.  However - the greatest strength of Washington County's human services network is a genuine community spirit of cooperation and collaboration.  Agencies work together to provide limited services and support one another's success.  Programs are willing to share information and resources.

 

  • Community Maternity Services:  Provides counseling, advocacy, referral, education, transportation, health care monitoring, free pregnancy testing, parenting, family life education and support groups to pregnancy and parenting adolescents in Washington County.  Services are provided only to the age of 21.  Although CMS no longer operates an office in Washington County, CMS does serve Washington County.

 

  • Public Health/The MOMS Program:  Medicaid Obstetrical Maternal Services is a prenatal program that provides health supportive services to pregnant women who are currently receiving or are eligible for Medicaid benefits.  Services include assistance in obtaining prenatal care, health and childbirth education, assistance in receiving services, and some transportation.  Services extend from pregnancy through eight weeks postpartum.  We collaborate with the MOMs Program team and utilize the services of a Washington County Public Health Nurse in providing health services and screenings for the Early Head Start program at BOCES.

 

  • Public Health/Well Baby Clinics, Immunization Clinics and EPSDT:    We work actively with Public Health to refer and support our families to use these services, some of which occur on-site at our programs for our families.

 

  • Public Health/The ICHAP Program:  The Infant Care Health Assessment Program is a statewide program to assure that infants receive the help needed for optimum growth and development in the early years.  The program is for families of children, ages 0-3, who have special needs.  The program provides referrals, assessment and screenings, feedback on child development status, and ongoing developmental monitoring.  There is no fee and no income eligibility requirement.  We collaborate with the team at Public Health to link children and families to ICHAP.

 

  • Public Health Education Programs:

          Seat belt safety, good health rules, lead screenings, worksite wellness           programming is provided.  They also provide support/involvement in Policy     Council, parent/child advocacy, and development of printed materials for the   program.  They provide representation on other Head Start committees.

 

  • WIC Program:  Women, Infants and Children provide food supplements and nutrition information for pregnant women and children under five years.  WIC also provides programs for smoking cessation, breast feeding programs, and extensive information on SIDS.  The program requires income eligibility for food supplements.

 

  • Public Health/Early Intervention Program:  Operates through Public Health to identify and assess children ages 0-2 who are at risk for physical, emotional, intellectual or developmental delay or disabling condition, and to link them to needed services.  We collaborate with the Early Intervention Team on behalf of the families in our Early Head Start program.

 

  • Department of Social Services: Provides funds to help families pay part or all of the costs of child care, and assist in securing health coverage, food, and temporary assistance for families in times of need. 

 

  • Board of Cooperative Educational Services/Infant Program (BOCES):  Provides services to adults for preparation for the GED, pre-GED and basic adult literacy.  The program also provides career counseling, job club, parenting education, and English as a second language program.

 

 

 

  • Capital District Child Care Council: Eat Well Play Hard

          Provides training for children, parents, and staff, reviews menus and seats a           representative on the Early Childhood Development and Health Services       Advisory Committee.

 

  • Center for Children and Families:

          Provides linkage to mental health services, accepts referrals and coordinates           support, identifies resources, advocacy and outreach services for children    and families.

 

  • Caleo Counseling Services:  Is the out-patient clinic for Warren, Washington Association for Mental Health.  Caleo provides individual child and adult, family, group, and medication therapies, sliding scale for fees.

 

  • Glens Falls Hospital:  A large regional hospital which operates numerous outreach programs, including the Center for Children and Families for out-patient mental health services, Family Treatment Center for substance abuse prevention and treatment, the Human Resource Center for drug abuse prevention and treatment, and a smoking cessation program.  We are well-networked to support our families to utilize these services.

 

  • Literacy Volunteers:  Provides literacy services throughout the county through individual tutoring, and collaborates with us to provide tutors for our parents.

 

  • Southern Adirondack Child Care Network:  Is a child care resource and referral agency located in Glens Falls.  The Network helps parents to find child care for their children by providing information about registered and licensed providers.  The Network also assists Family Day Care providers with the registration process and the training.  The Network is currently offering instruction for the Child Development Associate Credential.

 

  • Adirondack Health Institute Enrollment Services:  This program helps connect families with health plans in order to obtain free or affordable health care coverage, and provides information to educate families on available options for their health care needs.

 

  • Washington County Children's Services Advisory Committee:  A group of active service providers who meet regularly to assess and respond to the needs of children and families in Washington County.  The Family Services Coordinator attends meetings regularly.

 

  • Other Washington County EOC, Inc. Departments:  By working with other departments within the agency, families may be referred for employment, training and GED services, assistance in filing for unemployment, food pantry and transportation referrals, emergency assistance, and Energy Services, including Weatherization.

 

  • Local School Districts:

          We partner with all school districts to assure children are prepared to enter           Kindergarten through transition planning and collaboration with Committees for Preschool Special Education.

 

  • Other Individual Collaborations and Partnerships:  We have a broad range of other service providers in the community, with whom we have formal partnerships or ongoing collaborative relationships, especially among health care providers and dentists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary/Conclusions

 

Goals for the Future

 

School Readiness

In keeping with the requirements of the Head Start Act of 2007 and the national focus of Head Start/Early Head Start, we continue to prioritize school readiness for all enrolled children and their families.  A key piece of monitoring progress with this is reviewing outcomes program-wide.  In the past, we were able to analyze outcomes by classroom and child, but we did not have a mechanism to aggregate data as a program.  In response, we implemented Creative Curriculum along with the assessment tool, Teaching Strategies GOLD.  We are now entering our third year with Creative Curriculum/GOLD.

 

This Curriculum has many advantages.  It is very user-friendly and easy for parents to understand.  GOLD allows us to aggregate and analyze data in a more comprehensive manner to get a true picture of progress program-wide. 

 

Teachers are now completing GOLD Inter-Rater Reliability certification.  We also have 4 staff members who are CLASS Reliable Observers who work with teachers on quality instruction and professional development.

 

Last year, we developed a complete Outcomes Analysis Matrix, which guided outcome monitoring throughout the year.  This year, we revised the Matrix and will continue to use this to guide our School Readiness activities. 

 

An important piece of school readiness is preparing parents and children for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten transitions.  Our program meets with a group of representatives from area schools to discuss academic and social expectations of children and how we can work together and share resources.  We will continue to work closely with the schools in order to make this transition as seamless as possible.

 

We will also focus on parent family, and community engagement and how we can foster relationships with families to help them obtain the tools to feel prepared for the public school experience.

 

Mental Health

Based on the increased social and emotional needs of children we continue to build relationships with community mental health providers, and work with staff regarding mental health resources and how to access them.  Mental Health Counselors meet with staff during component meetings to clarify the referral process and provide training.  We continue to utilize our Consulting Psychologist for staff support and guidance and as a resource for families.

 

We will continue to focus on developing social and emotional competence, which will be carried out and reinforced program wide and provide staff in all services with the background knowledge and hands on tools for working with challenging children.  Excerpts from this model will continue to be used in Parent Engagement and parent training activities.

 

Health and Dental

We will continue our collaborations with local physicians and make efforts to enhance the number of dental providers in which we have working relationships.  We will continue our close working relationships with community providers such as Public Health.

 

We utilize "I am Moving, I am Learning" throughout the program, which brings more awareness to movement and physical activity, both in and out of the classroom, and with staff as well as children.

 

Technology

We are now in our fifth year of utilizing Child Plus and staff have become comfortable with the software and are excited about the efficiencies and opportunities it has created for our program. 

 

          Child Plus allows us to monitor key program data and trends to better support staff and families and identify program strengths and needs as part of ongoing program management.  It has also allowed us to more efficiently    manage reports and move key data and information tracking through        systems.  Child Plus has become a valuable, consistent component of ongoing       program monitoring and assessment in our program, and has improved our         systems greatly.  We are now feeling more comfortable using reports from           Child Plus and GOLD to link data and make observations and improvement      plans. 

         

 

In efforts to save money in difficult economic times, we went through the application and approval process for E-Rate for cost savings on our technology needs.  We save up to 90% on cell phones, internet, and other technology.

 

We are looking at ways to use technology to improve efficiencies in the classrooms and during home visits.  We recently invested in a small pool of I-Pads for our teachers and Home Visitors.  They are beginning to use these for capturing observations/notes in GOLD and for parent engagement enhancement, such as using a translation application to improve communication.  We are excited to explore other creative ways to use technology to benefit the program.

         

Parent Education

As we are seeing unemployed and underemployed parents, this has become a growing need.  We will continue efforts to connect parents with resources and employment and training programs.  In addition, we will continue offering workshops to parents on building their parenting skills in order to manage and cope during these times.  In response to parent questionnaires and the Self Assessment, we are offer workshops at varying days, times, and locations.

 

Expanding Early Head Start

While maintaining Head Start enrollment is challenging, there is a great need for more Early Head Start slots, particularly in the Home-Based option.  While there have been opportunities for child care partnerships in Early Head Start, this did not seem like the best fit for our rural county.  There are only 2 Day Care Centers and Family Day Care Homes are scattered throughout the county.  Ideally, it would be most beneficial to modify our current grant to convert some Head Start slots to Early Head Start slots.  We will explore this option with the Regional Office. 

 

Head Start Enrollment

We will continue to analyze the needs of families and take into account population shifts to keep enrollment full.  This has been a challenge this year with expanding Universal PreK and the likelihood that additional UPK slots may affect enrollment in the coming years.

 

As more families face economic hardships, which make them income eligible, it will be important to explore creative ways of promoting the program and recruit families.  We plan to utilize technology as much as possible, promoting on our website, making community newsletters available, and making the program visible in the community.

 

Seamless Head Start/Early Head Start Program

We will continue to work towards a truly seamless Head Start/Early Head Start program that can individualize the transition of each child and family based on their strengths and needs.  The program began a Comprehensive Case Management model in the 2007-2008 school year.  This model facilitates our ability to provide seamless and comprehensive services to children and families.

 

Funding

Due to the uncertainty of funding in this difficult political and economic climate, it will be important to explore additional funding opportunities and cost savings measures.  We will apply for grants that could enhance our program and serve our mission.  With both Child Plus and GOLD in place, we have begun to more easily gather meaningful data and outcomes information that is asked for in most grant applications. 

 

In the area of cost savings, we will work with the entire agency in securing more affordable options for benefits and contracted services.  As stated earlier, we will continue the annual process of applying for savings through E-Rate.

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

                     Sources

 

 

  • Adirondack Rural Health Network Health Assessment & Community Service Plan

 

  • New York State Community Action Association Poverty Report 2012

 

 

 

  • New York State, Kidscount Data Book, 2012

 

  • New York State Office of Children and Family Services-Licensed Day Care Provider Database

 

  • Parent and Policy Council Focus Groups

 

  • Parent Program Evaluations 2013 & 2014

 

  • Southern Adirondack Childcare Network, 2012 Child Care Community Needs Assessment

 

  • United States Census Bureau, American Communities Survey, 2012

 

  • United States Census Bureau data, 2010

 

  • Washington County Department of Social Services, Assistance Program Data for Children, Hollie Rapp, Director of Assistance Programs

 

  • Washington County EOC, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start Self-Assessment 2013 & 2014

 

  • Washington County EOC, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start Program Information Report 2013-201

 

  • Washington County EOC, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start School Readiness Goals

 

  • Washington County EOC, Inc. Strategic Plan

 

  • Washington County EOC, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start Program Goals

 

  • Washington County New York Physical Activity and Nutrition Assessment, November 2011

 

  • Washington County Public Health, Washington County Children with Special Needs Program, Children with Disabilities Data, 7/1/12 through 6/30/13 & 7/1/13 through 6/30/14

 

  • Washington County Public Schools: Telephone Survey of Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment, September 2014