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EARLY YEARS: TAP’s Head Start offers free child care to qualifying families in Southwest Virginia

Head start makes it easier for parents to head back to work after the pandemic, with a focus on the entire family
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 5:58 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The TAP Head Start Greenvale Center in Roanoke is just one of the sites for TAP’s free child care program.

Mom Tiffany Pannell says she feels good about her son being here.

“He loves it. I was so worried on how he was going to be when he first started and he definitely showed me that ‘momma, I’m okay’. I’m safe. I’m fine,” says Pannell.

Pannell has two older children who also attended Head Start.

“I just love the work that they have done for my children. They give my children everything that they need,” she says.

TAP has spots available for child care across southwest Virginia.

Early Head Start is for children up to and including two years old.

TAP Head Start offers preschool education for children who are three and four years old.

But families have to qualify.

”They select eligibility based on income, but they also have some categories that you can qualify for the program if you are a homeless family or you receive food stamps,” says Head Start Program Director Yesenia De La Cruz.

It’s not just about child care. Head Start and Early Head Start programs include education, as well as health services and screenings, and family support.

“Head Start doesn’t just work with a child, it also works with the whole family. So, our approach is the whole family. We’ll work with the parents, the siblings, the whole family with whatever they need,” says De La Cruz.

She says Head start serves more than 1,100 families in our area, and follows strict COVID protocols.

“We can guarantee the families that we have put in place health and safety measures. We do screenings in the mornings. We also have qualified staff. We also have a team of health, family services, education, nutrition, mental health,” says De La Cruz.

And for moms, like Pannell, the peace of mind knowing your child is safe while you’re at work is priceless.

“I really feel that TAP has definitely helped my children to be successful and to have a great life.”

If you’d like to register your child for Head Start, click here.

You can also call 540-767-6094, or email tapheadstart@tapintohope.org to find out more.

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