The Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana opened its fifth Early Head Start center last week thanks to a $2.2-million grant the coalition received last year.
The grant allowed the Children’s Coalition to expands its program and partner with child care centers to provide 132 slots for infants and toddlers in Ouachita Parish.
“A child’s readiness for school depends on meeting his/her comprehensive needs, which includes: physical and motor development; language and literacy; social and emotional development; approaches to learning; and cognitive development,” said Early Head Start Program Director Antoinette Hoard.
The Early Head Start Partnership and Expansion grant opened two new centers, one at 117 Hall Street and 300 Winnsboro Road as well as classrooms in two child care centers—Living Way Infant and Child Development Center in West Monroe and Kiddie Garden in Monroe. Three additional Children’s Coalition Early Head Start locations include 907 Filhiol Avenue in Monroe, 508 Austin Street in West Monroe and 811 Beverly Street in Monroe.
The Early Head Start program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Office of Head Start (OHS). The Children’s Coalition is the grantee for the Early Head Start Program for Ouachita Parish.
Quality comprehensive services is essential for infants and toddlers.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on May 22 to celebrate the center’s opening. Attendees included Monroe Housing Authority Director Frank Wilcox, Executive Director of the Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana Dr. Lynn Clark, Early Head Start Program Director Antoinette Hoard, CEO of Monroe Chamber of Commerce Sue Nicholson, Chairman of Monroe Chamber of Commerce Billy Haddad, Executive Administrative Officer for the City of Monroe Mike Vining and many others.
“Without the generous support of the Monroe Housing Authority, this would not be possible,” said Lynn Clark, Executive Director of the Children’s Coalition. “They have donated the building rent-free and upgraded the surrounding area.”
Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, and their families, and pregnant women and their families.