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Ravalli Head Start gets grant money for early childhood program

HAMILTON – Childcare services around Western Montana are scarce, but luckily some additions are coming to the Ravalli area.

Ravalli Head Start’s early childhood program will be gaining a few new enrollees thanks to a $758,000 federal grant.

The grant was hard to come by and took the program two attempts to secure

“We had applied before and were not successful and so in this round we applied again and honed our proposal and focused on some specific things that we thought might help, and as a result we were successful. Right under 500 grants were awarded nationally,” Ravalli Head Start executive Director John Filz said.

More funding means more slots for newborns to 3 year olds and head start is adding some new spaces in a unique way.

“So that allows us to serve 16 more children in addition to the 32 we are serving now so we will have 48 children in center based early head start services that we provide and then the other 17 children will be in four, approximately, partnership sites,” Filz says.  “So those will be licensed childcare providers in the community. We haven’t finalized contracts yet but we are working with four providers. Two centers a group childcare facility and a family child care provider.”

The partnership sites will be a new addition to the program but will be held to the same standards that the main head start facility operates by.

“The thing thats really new about this project and different is that for half of those children we will be doing that in partnership with childcare providers who will be independent contractors who will be complying with the head start performance which is our bible,” Filz added.  “The federal regulations we are obligated to comply with in order to maintain our funding and all of the relevant state regulations and licensing regulations as well.”

Filz said it was a team effort writing the roughly 70 page grant application and thanked everyone from administration to staff for their hand in creating it.

Connor McCauley

Connor McCauley

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