Programs

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Smart Start Programs

Child  Care Options/Subsidy

Emergency Respite

Funding is provided to families residing in Transylvania County to help meet short-term, temporary crisis situations. Families who meet established criteria and are not eligible for other funding will be served. A voucher will be issued to eligible families to use at any legally operating facility that is willing to contract with the local purchasing agency.

Eliminate the Waiting List

This activity provides funds to prevent or eliminate a waiting list for subsidy services for children under five who meet state eligibility requirements.  Families will apply at the local Child Development office during regular business hours and be qualified by a Parent Counselor.

Scholarships

Funding through scholarships will be provided for child care at part-time programs.  This activity will serve families that choose part-time care for their children. Child care programs will be expected to maintain health and safety requirements and staff-to-child ratios as established by the state.  The project coordinator will be responsible for determining eligibility for families using DSS eligibility guidelines. If eligible, 50% of the cost will be paid.  Families will apply at the Child Development Office during normal business hours.

Contract with Transylvania County Child Development

Child Care Resources and Referral

The Child Care Resource and Referral agency currently receives funding from the Division of Child Development to provide core services to parents, providers, and the community.  Although all of the services are provided, the amount of time devoted to training, technical assistance, and resources is limited due to funding and staffing.  The Division of Child Development requires that all licensed child care programs provide ten clock hours of orientation to newly hired staff within the first six weeks of their employment.  Due to the many daily responsibilities of directors, there often is not ample time to adequately train new staff.  In order to provide support to directors and staff and to improve current compliance scores, the child care resource and referral agency will conduct monthly staff orientation trainings and provide ready-to-use lesson plan kits available for staff.  Training sessions will include lunch and centers may be eligible for reimbursement for each paid staff member completing the five hour training.

Helping Kids Transition to Kindergarten

The Transylvania County Ready Schools Initiative will support a Ready Schools Team as they focus on one elementary school site for this fiscal year.  A Ready Schools Coordinator will assist the team to complete the High/Scope Ready Schools Assessment, identify areas for improvement, develop and begin to implement an action plan and, if appropriate, determine the next steps for subsequent years.

This program may provide workshops and information meetings.  The Ready Schools Team will be able to apply for a grant to assist with the implementation of strategies noted on its action plan.  If Smart Start funds are used for transition-related activities included on the site-based action plan, the expenditures will fall within the scope of Smart Start cost principles and provide transitioning activities for entering kindergartners prior to their entering school.

In-house activity of Smart Start of Transylvania County

Imagination Library

This program offers an opportunity for all preschool children in the community to have their own library of books that would encourage in them a love of reading and learning.  Each month, every child enrolled in the Imagination Library receives a new, carefully selected, age-appropriate book until he turns five.  Each hardcover book is selected by a committee composed of parents, teachers, child development specialists, librarians, publishers, and others specializing in early childhood literacy.

Research shows that learning to read is a process much like learning to speak or learning to walk.  The process begins at birth.  The key to success in school and beyond is developing proficient reading skills.  Parents who read with their children help them develop these skills.  The mission of Smart Start of Transylvania County is to promote positive early learning experiences through coordinated community services so that by age five every child is healthy and ready to succeed in school.  As the local champion for the Imagination Library, Smart Start of Transylvania County raises funds to pay for the books and mailing costs, promote the program, register the children, maintain the database and ensure that books arrive at the children’s homes.

Professionals Through  Development

This project is designed to increase the educational level of child care providers in Transylvania County.  All interested early child care providers employed in centers and family child care homes in Transylvania County are eligible to participate.  Participants will be enrolled in college level courses to achieve a higher level of early childhood education, child development degree or the equivalent.  The Project Coordinator will help child care providers review their educational goals, develop professional development plans and enroll in college level courses.

Child care centers with teachers enrolled in TEACH will be awarded a bonus for each participating teacher.  Smart Start reimbursements will be made to all eligible teachers not qualifying for TEACH.  The Project Coordinator will track and report baseline education levels, output data, outcome data and all financial support awarded to centers and individuals.  The contractor will also track and report turnover rates by center and on a county-wide level.

In-house activity of Smart Start of Transylvania County

Program Coordination and Evaluation

The Program Coordinator will focus on strengthening collaboration between the Partnership and service providers, providing consultation and technical assistance regarding strategic planning and service delivery, ensuring accurate and timely reporting to the North Carolina Partnership for Children, and conducting site visits to service providers.  The Program Coordinator will facilitate meetings between the Program Evaluator and service providers as well as meetings among service providers to foster better collaboration among all agencies.  The Program Coordinator will also develop and compile data regarding the needs of children birth to age five and their families and will provide technical assistance to the appropriate board committees, task forces, and the full board to assist with needs-based strategic planning.

A contractual relationship will be entered into with a professional Program Evaluator who will work closely with the Local Partnership and its contractors to ensure accountability, to build capacity and monitor effectiveness of the programs.  The Program Evaluator will monitor funded activities for contract compliance.

In-house activity of Smart Start of Transylvania County

WAGE$

The Child Care WAGE$ Project provides child care professionals with education-based salary supplements.  To encourage consistency, installments based on half of the annual award are issued after each six month period the participant completes in the same child care program.  Because these supplements reward education and continuity of care, children benefit from more stable relationships with better educated teachers.  The consistent care of an educated provider is fundamental to quality, and quality child care leads to future success in school and life.

 

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