Head Start Birth to Five program provides free child development services to low income families


Jose: THE CITY OF PHOENIX HEAD START BIRTH TO FIVE PROGRAM PROVIDES FREE COMPREHENSIVE CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT SERVICES TO ELEGIBLE LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN AGES ZERO TO FIVE AND AT-RISK PREGNANT WOMEN. JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS PROGRAM IS LATRISHA CENTERS PROGRAM SUPPORT SPECIALIST WITH THE CITY OF PHOENIX HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT HEAD START AND BIRTH TO FIVE PROGRAM. LATRISHA, WELCOME TO HORIZONTE.
Centers: THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME.
Jose: SO, THE PROGRAM, CITY OF PHOENIX COVERS, WHAT? SEVEN SCHOOLS AND SOME OTHER AGENCIES THAT WORKED ON GETTING THIS GOING?
Centers: YES, SO THE HEAD START BIRTH TO FIVE PROGRAM IS A COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM FOR ELIGIBLE FAMILIES IN SEVEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND TWO NONE PROFIT AGENCIES THAT HAVE THEIR CLASSROOMS EITHER LOCATED ON SCHOOL CAMPUSES OR WITHIN NONE PROFIT AGENCIES.
Jose: AND THE PRINCIPLE CRITERIA TO HAVE THESE KIDS IN YOUR PROGRAM IS WHAT? IS IT INCOME BASED?

Centers: YES, IT IS INCOME AND AGE. SO CHILDREN, PRESCHOOLERS, THE CHILDREN NEED TO BE 3-4 YEARS OF AGE BY SEPTEMBER 1ST. WE HAVE A WONDERFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH FOUR DIFFERENT CHILD CARES WHERE THOSE CHILDREN ARE INFANTS AND TODDLERS FROM AGE ZERO TO THREE YEARS OF AGE WHERE THEY CAN ATTEND FREE CHILD CARE 10 HOURS A DAY, YEAR ROUND, FULL DAY SERVICES FOR THOSE FAMILIES THAT ARE WORKING OR GOING TO SCHOOL FULL TIME. AND THEN WE ALSO HAVE A THIRD PROGRAM OPTION WHERE FAMILIES WHO WANT TO HAVE THEIR CARE BE RENDERED WITHIN THEIR HOME ENVIRONMENT. WE HAVE 300 FAMILIES RECEIVING HOME BASED EARLY HEAD START SERVICES WITHIN THEIR HOME.

Jose: YOU LAUNCHED A RECRUITMENT EFFORT. WHAT DOES THAT CONSIST OF? ARE YOU ON MEDIA PROGRAMS LIKE THIS AND NEWSPAPER, RADIO?

Centers: YES, WE USING A WIDE VARIETY OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS, DOOR TO DOOR, I CONDUCT MANY PRESENTATIONS, WORD OF MOUTH REALLY GETS THE WORD OUT ABOUT OUR PROGRAM. WE ARE GEARING UP SO WE CAN START FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR BEGINNING IN AUGUST FOR MOST PROGRAM AREAS.

Jose: AND ROUGHLY HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU SERVE?

Centers: TOTALLY IT IS OVER 3,000 CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. WE ARE THE LARGEST GRANTEE OR LARGEST HEAD START BIRTH TO FIVE PROGRAM IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. WE HAVE 300 HOME BASE SLOTS, 188 CHILD CARE PARTNERSHIP SLOTS FOR THE FULL-DAY YEAR-ROUND SERVICES, AND THEN BALANCE, A LITTLE LESS THAN 3,000 CENTER BASED PRESCHOOL SLOTS.

Jose: ANY SPECIFIC OUT REACH TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY?

Centers: YES, WE HAVE A PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE THAT WE PARTNER AND DEAL WITH DIRECTLY WITHIN THE CITY OF PHOENIX AND WE WORK TO GET THE INFORMATION OUT ABOUT OUR PROGRAM SERVICES TO A WIDE ARRAY OF LATINO COMMUNITIES VIA TELEPHONE, INTERVIEWS, RADIO, TELEVISION, PRINT, PRESENTATIONS, WORD OF MOUTH, A WIDE ARRAY OF DIFFERENT SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES THROUGHOUT THE PHOENIX AREA.

Jose: NOW, I UNDERSTAND THAT HEAD START PROGRAMS, TYPICALLY DO EMPHASIZE INVOLVEMENT OF FATHERS AND VARIOUS INITIATIVES THEY HAVE. YOUR AGENCY LAUNCHED A MAN CAVE PROGRAM A COUPLE YEARS AGO? TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Centers: WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT OUR FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE. THAT INITIATIVE IS REALLY INTENTIONAL ABOUT ENGAGING FATHERS OR GRANDPARENTS OR ANY POSITIVE MALE ROLE MODEL THAT HAS A CHILD ENROLLED IN OUR PROGRAM TO ENGAGE IN OUR PROGRAM SERVICES AND MORE IMPORTANTLY TO BE VERY ENGAGED AND INVESTED IN THE INVOLVEMENT OF WHATEVER IS GOING ON WITH THEIR CHILDREN WHILE THEY ARE ENROLLED IN OUR HEAD START PROGRAM. SO MAN CAVE MOST PEOPLE MAY THINK IT IS MORE OF A SOCIAL GATHERING OF MEN COMING TOGETHER…

Jose: YEAH, I HAVE IMAGES OF TV AND COUCH.

Centers: TV AND SPORTS. PIZZA AND DRINKS. WE CAME UP WITH THAT ACRONYM SO THAT IT DOES CAPTURE THE GENERAL PUBLIC'S ATTENTION BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IT REALLY STANDS FOR MEN ALL NEED TO BE CARING, ACTIVELY ENGAGED, INVESTED AND ENCOURAGED. WE WANT THOSE MEN TO ENGAGE IN OUR MAN CAVE INETIATIVE SO THEY LEARN HOW TO BE BETTER ROLE MODELS, BETTER FATHERS, BETTER GRANSPARTENTS, BETTER POSITIVE MALE MENTORS IN OUR PROGRAM. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT IT TAKES TO ENGAGE WITH THEIR CHILD IN TERMS OF HOME VISITS, PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES, OVERALL ACTIVITIES, SERVING ON POLICY COUNSELS AND COMMITTEES AND ATTENDING OUR MAN CAVE SESSIONS WHICH ARE MONTHLY TOPICS THAT ARE GEERED TOWARDs POSITIVE OUTCOMES IN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR CHILD AND LEARNING TO BE MORE SOCIAL AND MORE EMOTIONALY ENGAGED WITH CHILDREN BECAUSE WE KNOW RESEARCH STATES THAT MEN THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THE LIVES OF THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN PRODUCE MORE WELL ROUNDED AND HEALTHY YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN AS THEY ENTIRE SCHOOL.
Jose: SO INTERGRATE SUCCESS I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WENT FROM 100 TO 400 SECOND YEAR.

Centers: YES, OVER 400, YES.
Jose: WE WILL HAVE TO LEAVE IT ON THAT NOTE. THANK YOU SO MUCH LATRISHA FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE TO TALK ABOU IT.
Centers: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.
Jose: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US FOR HORIZONTE AND ARIZONA PBS. I AM JOSÉ CÁRDENAS. HAVE A GOOD EVENING.

The Head Start Birth to Five program allows low income families to receive free child development services that help prepare their children for school.

The program is currently available in seven school districts with the help of two nonprofits and the City of Phoenix Human Services Department. Families become eligible according to their income and age.

“We work to get our information out to a wide array of Latino communities via telephone, interviews, radio, television, print, presentations, word of mouth,” says Latisha Centers of the City of Phoenix Human Services Department.

Four different child care centers that serve children ages zero to three are partnered with Head Start. They can attend free childcare for 10 hours a day, year round. There’s also an opportunity for families to have their children cared for in their home environment. There are 188 childcare slots and 300 for home-based services. Including all of its various services, Head Start helps over 3,000 children.

Another service Head Start provides is called Man Cave. It’s a program that helps fathers, grandparents and male role models become invested in their child’s life.

“That initiative is really intended for engaging fathers or grandparents or any positive male role model that has a child enrolled in our program to engage in our program services,” Centers says. “We help them become very engaged and invested in whatever is going on with their children while they’re enrolled in our program.”

For more information on Head Start, visit to phoenix.gov/headstart.

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Latisha Centers: City of Phoenix Human Services Department

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