Drake University Head Start
Early Head Start Urban Core Partnership Grant
In December of 2014, Drake University became one of 275 awardees nationwide to receive a new cutting-edge Early Head Start grant that partners with local childcare centers. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) developed this new grant to encourage collaboration between new and/or existing Early Head Start grantees and local child care providers to further support high-quality early education for children from birth until age 3 through layered funding. Drake University Early Head Start chose to partner with six Des Moines Urban Core child care agencies offering services at eight locations. This grant is designed to assist with increasing existing quality efforts of year-around, full-day services for infants, toddlers and two-year olds. As a result of grant funding:
- Class sizes will be reduced to a cap of eight children per classroom;
- Increased professional development and instructional coaching will be provided for staff;
- A minimum requirement of a Child Associates Development (CDA) certification required by Early Head Start Program Performance Standards for staff will be upheld;
- Education and support for families will be provided;
- The most stringent quality standards will be enforced;
- Staff incentives for quality and additional requirements will be incurred.
These efforts are extended through collaborative partnerships with United Way of Central Iowa and Polk County Early Childhood Iowa as well as the Iowa TEACH program to provide program-wide supports and share the wealth of resources for these eight childcare sites.
What does the Drake University Early Head Start Urban Core Partnership for Infants, Toddlers and Two-year-olds offer?
Early Head Start currently serves 88 infants, toddlers, and two-year olds in Polk County as part of a larger grant as well as an additional 838 Head Start children ages 3-5. This new Partnership grant allows for an additional 90 children, effectively doubling the Early Head Start services overseen by Drake University Head Start in Polk County.
Multiple classrooms are available to families at the participating childcare centers in the Urban Core, which are also a part of a Childcare Coalition established by United Way of Central Iowa and Polk County Early Childhood Iowa to enhance the quality of childcare. The centers serve a diverse population: one is in a residential drug treatment center, two are in high schools serving teen parents, one is in a low-income housing project, one is a bilingual program, and three are in areas with access to serve the homeless.
Participating centers are:
- Capitol Park Early Learning Center and Little Scarletts
- Children and Families of Iowa Child Development Center and Teddy Bear Town
- Hispanic Educational Resources – Conmigo Early Education Center
- House of Mercy
- Oak Academy
- Wonder Years Academy – No website please contact center directly at 515-255-6184
Who is eligible to participate in the Drake University Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership?
Children from birth-up to age 3 who meet federal poverty guidelines and other established criteria may be eligible for Early Head Start services. Drake University Head Start has established priorities for enrolling children based upon child and family circumstances, community needs and available funds. Drake University Head Start may accept children whose family income exceeds federal poverty guidelines.
To enroll please contact one of the participating centers to complete their applicable childcare application process. At that time, the applicable Director will contact an Early Head Start Childcare Partnership representative to then complete an Early Head Start application.