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Federal funds help Head Start programs in county

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has announced that there will be $2,148,524 in federal funds to support Head Start programs run by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

Funding for Head Start is received every year on Nov. 1 and is awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“This is excellent news for Lawrence County families and their children,” Brown said. “Programs like Head Start help to ensure that children have the skills necessary to succeed in elementary school and beyond.”

Head Start is a federal program that provides young children from low-income families with programming to prepare them for school. Early Head Start focuses on children from birth to 3 years old.

“The funds help provide school readiness services to children from birth to 5 years old,” Dr. Sharon Daniels, director of Head Start Lawrence County Early Childhood Academy, said. “The programs that the funding goes toward also include nutrition, both mental and physical health, and social services. Health screenings that are provided include dentist work and physicals.”

The programs are designed to ensure their healthy cognitive, social, and emotional development.

“Ninety percent of the children in our Head Start programs come from families that are below the poverty line,” Daniels said. “We try to fill the other 10 percent for those with disabilities.”

The Head Start programs are comprehensive with two main parts. The first one is school readiness, getting children ready for kindergarten. The second part is about family and community engagement.

“The services that we provide for community engagement are to connect the children and their families with the community,” Daniels said. “This is very important in making sure that the children succeed.”