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STC’s Early Start gets $1.1M state grant

POSTED: August 6, 2009 7:10 p.m.

SAVANNAH — Early Start Child Care Resource and Referral of Southeast Georgia, operated by the Economic Development Division of Savannah Technical College, has received grant funding of $1.11 million to expand its services to 34 counties in the area.

This is the fourth year the college has received this funding as a part of the statewide network of agencies dedicated to increasing the number of Georgia’s children and families who have access to quality early learning care and programs.

“We are delighted to have been selected as one of the CCR&R programs to expand its services,” said STC President Kathy S. Love. “Studies have continued to show that money invested in early learning initiatives pays great dividends for the community.”

In previous years, the college’s grant supported similar programming for nine coastal counties.  Early Start will reorganize and expand its staff to serve the larger areas.

“Rather than setting up additional offices throughout the region, we will be hiring professionals to work from their homes, including two to serve the Augusta area and two for Swainsboro and surrounding communities,” said Early Start Director Sherry Costa.

The college will close the Brunswick office and allow those staff members as well as two currently working in Savannah to telecommute and serve their communities.

Two new inclusion coordinators will be added to serve the region. Inclusion coordinators work with child care providers and families of special-needs children to ensure all children are included in the child care setting.

Services include child care provider training, quality enhancement assistance and inclusion services. New this year will be a statewide network for parental referrals, rather than the local referral network previously operated by each regional CCR&R.

Parents and other caregivers can call one toll free phone (877-ALL-GA-KIDS) number to get child care information and referrals and a Web-based system (www.allgakids.org) that they can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the state.

Last year, Early Start CCR&R of Southeast Georgia provided accreditation facilitation services to assist 29 child care programs in meeting national accreditation standards and offered 308 workshops for child care providers with attendance of 7,535.

For information, visit www.ccrrofsoutheastga.org or www.savannahtech.edu.

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