Registration for Winters Head Start program now open

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“We encourage all families to call us to get an application to get the process started,” said Nicole Castrejon, the family support services manager with the Yolo County office of education Head Start program. Castrejon said after July 16 they plan to announce dates when Head Start Winters office hours will be holding sessions for families to come in to fill out paperwork and get the registration phase started. Head Start has a three-part entry process that begins with an initial application submission. Families who are determined to be income eligible by state and federal income guidelines or qualify due to a special need for services move on to the enrollment process. New families attend a Family Orientation once their details are submitted and a roster finalized. Children who are at least 3 years old before September 2, 2018 but no older than 5 are eligible to apply. Families who are determined income eligible by federal and California state income guideline qualify. Castrejon said the program does take into consideration the changing family dynamic, environmental factors and special situations in regards to a family’s eligibility to the program. She said all families should apply if they are in need of the services Head Start offers whether they think they qualify or not. “We strive to follow those guidelines, but we have some flexibility if there is a disability, environmental factor or other situation. We want to help them if we can,” said Castrejon.  Another qualification is parents and caregivers must be working full time or actively seeking employment. “We know childcare is expensive and we want to give them an opportunity to find employment,” said Castrejon. She said in the event a family does not qualify on any point of eligibility the Head Start team will provide resources for the family to help in some way. Castrejon said the Head Start team is very excited to come to Winters and to help serve families in the community. Winters was identified as an area where we need to start serving their families. Head Start has already started networking and working with both R.I.S.E. Inc. and the Winters Joint Unified School District. “We hope to continue growing and fostering relationships,” said Castrejon. “Our goal is to continue to serve the community and the children there.” Winters Head Start program will run a full time preschool program for children ages three to five years old. Castrejon said they utilize their resources to support children socially and emotionally. There’s also a strong focus on kindergarten readiness. “There’s a purpose from every moment the child is signed in to when they leave,” said Castrejon. Families will also benefit from the program through parent education opportunities to learn techniques and tools to assist their child. “Our goal is to identify the families strengths and the areas where support may be needed,” said Castrejon. “It’s not just a free comprehensive preschool program. It’s to support the entire family.” She said while a child is enrolled with them they focus on family engagement, family involvement, literacy and advocacy. We do several screening health wise and academically,” said Castrejon. “Throughout the whole process we help walk the family through it to help them learn how to advocate for their child. We foster a lot of opportunities for families and caregivers, foster programs and grandparents to come to parenting classes.” The Winters Head Start program is scheduled to hold their first day on Wednesday, August 22. Winters Head Start will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Head Start actively accepts applications year round. Local families interested in applying are asked to call the Head Start office now at 530-668-3055. More information can be found online at]]>

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