INKSTER, Mich., June 4, 2012 – Inkster-based Starfish Family Services (Starfish), has received a $3.6 million grant to provide new Early Head Start programming to Detroit families in partnership with Detroit-based Development Centers, Inc., Focus: HOPE and Southwest Counseling Solutions, Inc. U.S. Representative John Dingell made the announcement.
The Early Head Start programming, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children & Families, will add services to nearly 300 at-risk pregnant women, infants and toddlers annually with quality prenatal care and childcare up to age three. Both home-based and center-based services will be provided directly by Development Centers, Inc., Focus: HOPE and Southwest Counseling Solutions, Inc. Eligible Detroit families will receive assistance from these program partners in the areas of early childhood education, nutrition and physical health, mental health and parent support services.
“The award of this substantial grant is a significant event for our community,” said Starfish CEO Ann Kalass. “This program will make a difference in the lives of hundreds of families by supporting healthy birth outcomes and increasing the number of healthy, curious, and eager to learn Detroit children starting preschool and kindergarten ready for success.”
“Starfish effectively serves our most vulnerable populations and provides our young children with a variety of critical programs and fundamental services to ensure these youngsters are given the solid foundation they need and deserve to be successful in the future,” said Dingell. “This HHS award could not have come to fruition without the great program Starfish Family Services already has running and the leadership of their talented and focused CEO, Ann Kalass. This substantial amount of money awarded to Starfish will not only help our children achieve, but it will also bring much needed jobs to the area.”
Starfish Family Services was selected as the grantee for this Early Head Start programming after a competitive reapplication process that began in mid-2011. Starfish has been serving children and families since 1963 and has more than 10 years of direct experience providing high quality Early Head Start services in metro Detroit. Daily, the agency serves more than 700 low-income children under the age of five through Early Head Start and Head Start. Starfish is one of only two Early Head Start providers in Wayne County where it serves more than a dozen communities including Inkster and Dearborn.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to leverage our Early Head Start expertise in partnership with three high-impact Detroit-based organizations,” said Kalass. “We know that at-risk children need a range of support that begins prenatally and continues through the critical developmental stages leading up to kindergarten. The depth of need in our community is enormous and requires new approaches to systems building and collaboration to effectively reach as many families as possible. Each partner brings a shared commitment to children and unique programming strengths that, together, will make a tremendous difference for children in our community.”
Robert Shaw, Executive Director of Development Centers, said, “We are excited to be a part of this community-based collaboration whose focus is helping Detroit’s youngest children and their families. The strengths and commitment of each partner agency will help ensure that these children get the best possible start and increase their chances of being successful in school. Early Head Start services are critical for so many families who otherwise can’t access resources until Kindergarten, and we know that’s too late to fully prepare our kids for future success. We are looking forward to working with our partners and supporting the future of so many Detroit children.”
To view and download photos of Early Head Start students, click here.
About Starfish Family Services
Founded in 1963, Starfish Family Services is an Inkster-based nonprofit organization serving thousands of vulnerable children and families annually in metro Detroit. Starfish’s passion is early childhood development. The organization strives every day to prepare young children for a successful start to school. Starfish programs and services uniquely recognize and respect the important role of parents and other caregivers in the long-term success of children. For more information, please visit www.starfishonline.org.