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Jan 2015

AWARE awarded federal grant to expand Early Head Start Services

Grant for infants and toddlers and their families in Butte, Bozeman and Helena

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded AWARE Inc. a $1,165,000 grant to improve the quality of child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers in three Montana cities and their surrounding counties. AWARE will provide an additional $600,000 in leveraged community resources to support the project’s success.

The AWARE Early Head Start (EHS) Partnership Project will provide high quality Early Head start Services in the Bozeman and Helena communities which historically has not had access to Early Head Start child care and parental  support resources  for infant, toddlers, and their families.  The award will also allow more families to be served through AWARE’s long-standing Butte Early Head Start program.

The AWARE EHS Partnership project will involve an innovative partnering with existing community-based child care providers to share Early Head Start resources, training, and standards to create additional access and improve quality of care.

The AWARE EHS Partnership project will help particularly address the shortage of quality care for infants and toddlers for working families benefitting not only children and their families, but also their employers.

January 7, 2015 – Butte  –  HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced that AWARE Inc. has been awarded  a Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships grant to improve the quality of existing child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers in Butte, Bozeman, and Helena.

AWARE, Inc. will implement a  Early Head Start (EHS) expansion into the currently unserved Montana counties of Lewis and Clark, Gallatin and Park and under- served  county of Butte Silver Bow. The project will improve both the quality and quantity of child care options for children ages 0-3 in these four Counties.

AWARE will provide Early Head Start in: Lewis and Clark County (serving the towns of Helena, East Helena), Butte Silver Bow County (serving Butte), and Gallatin/Park counties (serving Bozeman, Livingston). The Helena and Bozeman areas are the only 2 remaining major cities in Montana that have no Early Head Start services despite high numbers of children eligible.

The AWARE  project will target children who are EHS and child care subsidy eligible, children with disabilities, and children with challenging behaviors. AWARE will partner with child care providers who are licensed. Early childhood services will be improved through the adoption of EHS standards and evidence-based practices supported through the grant’s resources. AWARE will provide full year, full day child care services in both family and center based settings, with at least 50% of the families receiving child care subsidies. AWARE will work to partner to link families to other community resources such as health departments, Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, Head Start programs, disability service providers, and school districts.

Larry Noonan, CEO; AWARE Inc., said he is thrilled that AWARE will be able to lead the efforts to deliver to provide children and their families this critical support through the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant.   “As the early childhood research shows us, high quality child care services for infant and toddlers has a lasting positive impact on the children, on the families, and on communities,” said Noonan.

Noonan also recognizes the important role quality infant and toddler care has in supporting working families, their employers, and local economic development.  Noonan says, “Employees with small children can only be focused reliable contributors on the job if they have quality day care for their children.  AWARE is proud that it can lend its expertise and energies to improving and expanding infant and toddler care opportunities in these communities. “

AWARE has been a provider of Early Head Start Services in Butte since 1998. AWARE partners with Head Starts programs throughout the state of Montana to address the social emotional needs of children served through its innovative, nationally recognized Successful Starts mental health program. AWARE’s Center for Early Childhood in Butte has also recently expanded to include two Home Visiting programs (Parents as Teacher and Safe Care), early childhood mental health services and a new preschool to support the needs of young children and their families.

AWARE Inc. is a Montana leader in the delivery of high quality early childhood, family support, disability, and other human services in communities across the state of Montana. For more information on A.W.A.R.E., Inc. and its services, please visit: www.aware-inc.org. For more information, please contact Melinda Wade Corso at (406) 360-8856.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Jamie Boyer

Director of Marketing, AWARE Inc.

406-563-8117 x 10