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Program Description
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Passaic Head Start serves 255 children representing 250 families from the city of Passaic. These families are primarily working families, former TANF families or are presently receiving TANF services. They are low income families raising their children in an urban community which is densely populated and has an almost zero-rental vacancy rate.

Passaic Family Head Start has been serving preschoolers aged 3 and 4 year old children since 1974. Formerly, Passaic City Head Start was under the auspices of the City of Passaic municipal government. In 2002, Passaic Family Head Start Inc. became an independent not-for-profit, 501(c)3 corporation. Passaic Head Start began its program as a response to the "War on Poverty" declared by President Johnson in the 1960's. In 1974, Passaic Head Start began serving low income families in the city of Passaic with 30 students. These 30 children represent over 5,500 children served since the inception of the program. Head Start was developed as a grass roots organization seeking to empower parents, involve the community and provide low income children an opportunity to receive a quality educational experience - thus a “Head Start” in their education and life experience.

 

Head Start provides an eclectic approach in how the child is served and how the family is served and empowered. Each child who enters our Head Start program receives more than an education. They also receive Health, Dental, Immunizations, Hearing, Vision, Lead Poisoning, Nutrition, Speech, Language, Mental Health and Disabilities screenings. Parents are empowered as they are actively engaged in the screenings and assessments of their children. Parents are assisted with referrals for their children. What makes Head Start distinct from other programs is its involvement with parents in 100% of their child's develepment and school environment - from developing and approving policies, hiring staff, budget planning, grant development, curriculum development, and many other parent involvement activities. Information and referrals are provided to parents in the following areas: employment counseling, Educational Programs (ESL, GED, Literacy), Substance Abuse Programs, Housing, Labor Relations, Budgeting, Legal Matters, Issues within the Home and assistance with their other children in the local public or private schools. We empower parents to become advocates for their entire family.

 

Passaic Head Start serves 255 children at three sites within the city of Passaic. We have a collaboration with Children’s Day Nursery, which has been a successful partnership for many years. They serve 75 Head Start children. A total of 17 classrooms are provided within these three sites. In 2002, the program commenced our collaboration with the Passaic Board of Education in order to serve Head Start children living the city of Passaic which is an Abbott district. This collaboration has greatly improved the quality of services offered to Head Start children and their families.

 

In August 2007, we opened a new site located on Highland Ave. in Passaic. This new site permitted us to convert our part day sessions into full-day sessions, offering parents the much-needed early childhood services. In February 2010, a new classroom servicing 15 children opened. This classroom was funded under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and it is now part of our permanent funding.