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Early Head Start program headed to Lynchburg area

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A big welcome back has been far removed from many child care centers.

Many empty seats have been created due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But a new program looks to address that need right here at home.

“At a time when it’s even more desperate for families to provide safe, reliable, high-quality childcare for the kids, we are here to be able to do that and allow parents to get back to work," said Ashley Graham, HumanKind family and children’s services director.

HumanKind will oversee Early Head Start, a federally-funded program that serves children under three.

Graham says that program will serve Amherst, Bedford and Lynchburg beginning early next year.

“It is so important to bring Early Head Start to our community because we’ve never had it before and it is the missing link in our early childhood continuum in our region," said Graham.

However, families do have to qualify to be eligible to enroll.

“Families do need to meet certain income eligibility to qualify or families who are experiencing homelessness, children who are in foster care and some children who have disabilities may qualify regardless of their income," said Graham.

Kathy Banks with Lynchburg Community Action Group says Early Head Start will provide a link to the existing Head Start program in the area.

That program serves three- to 4-year-olds.

“So we have a continuity of curriculum that we use for social and emotional learning so that children by the time they get to kindergarten, it’s not new," said Banks, Lyn-CAG children and family services director.

For now, HumanKind plans to use centrally-located spots in those hometowns for the program.

Applications will open in the coming weeks.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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