We at PCCEO, Inc. Early Head Start and Head Start identify ourselves as partners in the delivery of high quality, comprehensive services to economically challenged families and children in Peoria County.
Our Value Statement
PCCEO HS and EHS are dedicated to providing quality services to children and families. We value honesty, respect, justice, equity, personal development and professional growth. It is our desire to promote these values for our organization and our community through effective leadership and teamwork.
Early Head Start provides intensive, comprehensive services that begin before the child is born. Our program concentrates on enhancing child development and supports the family during the critical first three years of the child’s life. Staff responds to the unique strengths and needs of each individual child, based on each family’s readiness and willingness to participate in the process. Our program services include, but are not limited to:
- Monitoring the comprehensive health and wellness of children;
- Family literacy experiences;
- Encouraging fathers to become fully involved in the lives of their children;
- Quality early education both in and out of the home;
- Parenting education (including prenatal and postnatal care information for infants and mothers);
- Information on the benefits of breastfeeding to all pregnant and nursing mothers;
- Nutrition education;
- Service coordination and case management;
- Acoustic Emissions (Hearing screenings)
- Give Kids a Smile Day – Dental Fair
- Individualized family service plans; and
- Collaboration of services with various community partners.
PCCEO’s Prevention Initiative program, funded by the Illinois State Board of Education since 2007, is an added program for at-risk infants, toddlers, expecting parents and their families who are at-risk of academic failure. Funded for 34 additional families with infants and toddlers from birth to three. Our program implements research-based, comprehensive and intensive family support services to help families build a strong foundation for learning and to prepare children for school success. In 2006, the Pre-Kindergarten At-Risk Program statue was amended to establish “Preschool for All Children” as the goal of the state prekindergarten program.
During the 2016 school year, the PCCEO Prevention Initiative program was awarded the Building Capacity Grant. This grant allowed us to increase the capacity of our existing EHS children and expectant mothers in both our home-based and center-based options. The Building Capacity grant also allowed us to hire additional support staff. Capacity building is whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity. Capacity building is not a one-time effort to improve short-term effectiveness, but a continuous improvement strategy toward the creation of a sustainable effective organization.
Early Head Start has a funded enrollment of one-hundred eleven (111) children and pregnant women. Comprehensive child development and prenatal services are offered through center-based and home-based program options.
As with Head Start, Early Head Start offers children and families comprehensive child development services through center-based and home-based program options. Children and families enrolled in center-based programs receive comprehensive child development services in a center-based setting. In home-based settings children and their families are supported through weekly home visits by a Family Development Specialist (FDS). Group socializations are provided twice per month to strengthen and support relationships by giving parents the opportunity to obtain feedback from staff and other parents about their child’s interests, strengths or needs while learning from others about the challenges and joys of parenting.
Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, Attendance (ERSEA)
E= Eligibility includes pregnant women and teens, and children from birth to age three that reside in low-income households, foster children under 3, and homeless families with children under 3 in accordance with federal income guidelines and the McKinney-Veto Act
R= Recruitment of eligible families residing in Peoria County is an ongoing process that focuses on enrolling individuals with the greatest need within the community in the Early Head Start Program.
S= Selection of applicants is made by a formal process that accesses family needs and assigns a weighted number system to areas determined to put families at risk. At least ten (10) percent of the total number of enrollment opportunities are made available for children with diagnosed disabilities.
E= Enrollment into the Early Head Start program is official upon the completion of the application process and acceptance into the program as vacancies occur.
A= Attendance- regular attendance of children enrolled in Early Head Start centers promotes cognitive development, socialization skills, and school readiness. Families enrolled in the home-based option are encouraged to participate in scheduled home visits. All families are encouraged to attend monthly socializations which provide the opportunity for peer socialization and training on topics conducive to healthy relationships and enhancing parenting skills
Ninety percent of enrollment must be from low-income families (see income guidelines below). Ten (10) percent of the enrollment may consist of families who exceed the low-income guidelines but who meet other program criteria.
Family income must be verified before determining eligibility which may include current Income Tax Form 1040, W-2 forms, pay stubs with current date & name, written statements from employers, or documentation showing current status as recipients of public assistance (TANF), 906 placement form for a Foster Child, and SSI income documentation.
2021 Income Guidelines
|Family Size||100% of Poverty|
Infant/Toddler Child Development
The overreaching goals of Early Head Start focus on the healthy cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of infants and toddlers. Research has demonstrated that to thrive, children from birth to age 3 need a variety of positive learning experiences provided in a secure and loving environment. In recognition that parents are the primary educators of their children, EHS programs are designed to work with families to ensure that the developmental needs of each child are met. Early Head Start Staff are certified to implement Parents as Teachers “Born to Learn” approach to development and are certified Family and Community Development Specialists.
To ensure that all enrolled children are making age-appropriate gains in development, children are closely monitored using screenings and assessments. School Readiness goals have been developed to help parents and staff prepare children for the next steps in their education. Child outcome reports, based on data from assessments, are shared with parents, staff, and advisory groups. Results of our analysis of data are an integral part of program planning, decision making, and program improvements.
As part of quality improvement, Early Head Start is participating in ExceleRate Illinois. ExceleRate Illinois is a quality rating and improvement system administered by Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (INCCRRA), Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) using funding from the Early Learning Challenge Race to the Top grant. ExceleRate offers three levels of quality for licensed child care centers. The levels are: licensed, bronze, silver, and gold. In order to qualify for the silver or gold Circles of quality through ExceleRate, staff must earn Director, Early Childhood Education and Infant/Toddler credentials through INCCRRA. Currently, staff have earned ten (10) credentials.
If children aren’t healthy, they can’t learn. Early Head Start helps families access ongoing, continuous health care for their child and promote healthy, safe behaviors in centers and at home. We seek to provide comprehensive health services to children and families through prevention and early identification of health and developmental concerns. Through links to community health services, each family is encouraged and supported to establish a “medical and dental home.” Their children will receive routine health care and establish preventative dental services and treatment. Our goal is to facilitate an ongoing relationship with health care providers and help ensure our parents that their infants’ and toddlers’ teeth and gums are healthy. Effective oral health practices vary depending on the developmental skills of each child. Tooth decay is the most common preventable childhood disease. EHS, along with the Peoria City/County Health Department, works with parents to establish dental homes and obtain their child’s first dental exam by the age of 12 months. We create and assist parents with opportunities to be well-informed of early dental needs
EHS stays current on local and national health concerns that affect the children and families of the program and health care conditions that potentially face these children and families. We are committed to addressing the Peoria City/County Health Department’s Health Indicator Report findings in Maternal and Child Health. These findings include infant mortality, sexually transmitted infections and teen birth rate. Peoria has some of the highest rates in the country surrounding these health concerns.
Early Head Start strives to educate our parents on good nutrition for their children and family. We provide many opportunities for nutrition education and make the necessary referrals as needed. By providing nutrition education to our families, we hope to communicate the importance of eating right and maintaining appropriate body weight as it relates to their child’s health and development.
In recognition of the value and worth of all children, Early Head Start requires the inclusion of children with disabilities. The Head Start Performance Standards require that at least 10 percent of the total number of enrollment opportunities be made available to children with disabilities. Children with disabilities are defined as those children who are eligible for services under State regulations governing Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is a Federal law that is implemented at the State and local levels to provide screening, assessment, and, for eligible children, early intervention services based on Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP).
Parents are true partners in EHS programs. The program has a formal structure of shared governance through which parents can participate in policy-making and other decisions about the program. EHS will implement the Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework to promote parent and family engagement and children’s learning and development. Participation in policy groups, parent committees, and governing bodies empowers parents and community members to share in the decision-making process. EHS offers parents opportunities for their own growth and support in identifying and meeting goals. Families and staff collaboratively design and routinely update individualized family partnership agreements to ensure that service delivery strategies are responsive to the individual goals of families. Referrals are made, as appropriate, to other community resources and services that support each family’s needs and goals.
- EHS offers training opportunities for parents such as:
- Financial Literacy
- Positive Parenting/Child Abuse Prevention
- Healthy Relationships
- Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention
- Mental health and counseling
- Health Nutritional education
- Basic life skills and Home Safety Techniques
Early Head Start also offers parents the opportunity to attend Group Socializations which are held twice per month. Families receive a nutritious meal and engage in social interaction with other parents and children while strengthening the parent/child relationship within their own family.
Early Head Start serves families residing in Peoria County and recognizes that many other agencies and groups may work with the same individuals. Therefore in an effort to minimize duplication of efforts EHS programs collaborate with partners in the community to:
- Provide the highest level of services to children and families;
- Maximize available resources;
- Foster the development of a continuum of family-centered services; and
- Advocate for a community that shares responsibility for the healthy development of children and families of all cultures.
Only by continually arming ourselves with current research, techniques, and knowledge in our various service areas, can we be effective early childhood providers. For this reason, professional development is an integral part of the program’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. All Early Head Start teachers have either a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA), Associates degree (AA) or a Bachelor’s degree (BA) and are continuing their education by attending workshops, seminars and college courses. Currently, EHS teaching staff meet or exceed state licensing and federal performance standards for Early Childhood staff.
Regularly scheduled professional development opportunities are planned as part of ongoing staff training. Supervision and mentoring are central to EHS staff development efforts. EHS collaborates with Peoria Education Partners (PEP), Child and Family Connections (CFC), Starnet and other agencies in providing professional development opportunities.
Meaningful professional development opportunities are planned as part of ongoing staff training.