Grant extends early childhood development resources for Jefferson, St. Clair and Walker counties

The UAB Early Head Start Program will continue to provide resources and services with a $1.2 million grant extension.

HeadStart2Developing a child’s language, gross and fine motor skills, cognitive, and social growth can take a village of resources. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Early Head Start Program has received a $1.2 million extension grant from the Administration of Children and Families, Office of Head Start to aid challenged families in need.

The UAB EHSP works to form partnerships with families to support child development and family goals in their homes.

“We strive to enhance opportunities for children and families by providing high-quality learning experiences to help children develop and grow, as well as services to support family well-being and secure parent-child relationships,” said Kristi Guest, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology. “Because of the funding provided to the program, we are able to partner with parents and caretakers to aid in the development of their child and identify community resources to reach family goals.” 

Funded in 1998, the UAB EHSP was established to serve 88 infants and toddlers and their families or pregnant women challenged by poverty. The program currently provides services in Jefferson, St. Clair and Walker counties, where a multidisciplinary team of area specialists supports the home visiting staff and teachers. They provide alternative approaches and complementary perspectives in working with families that have multiple, complex challenges.

The home-based program option provides families who qualify with weekly home-based early childhood education, case management services, mental health support, health and nutritional support services, and socialization activities. The program can assist families in identifying and obtaining other community resources such as adult education services, vocational training, child care services, parent training and substance abuse services. In addition, the program offers a center-based option in Walker County at Parrish Elementary School that serves children in a classroom setting. 

Integrating family engagement throughout the program enhances a child’s learning experiences. The program forms partnerships, develops relationships, and collaborates with families and community providers to meet the individual needs of each child and their family. UAB EHSP provides family engagement services as indicated by the family’s partnership agreement to address the needs of families, including adult education, vocational training, housing and substance abuse, by working collaboratively with community partners.