Op-Ed: Officials stress importance of Head Start campaign – The Citizen’s Voice

With the state budget process kicking into gear and millions of dollars in funding at stake, child advocates touted the merits of the Childhood Begins at Home campaign at Luzerne County Head Start on Thursday.

The campaign emphasizes the importance of “evidence-based” home visiting programs which provide support for parents caring for children in difficult circumstances, according to Lynn Biga, executive director of Luzerne County Head Start.

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The coalition is working to build successful families in Montour and Columbia Counties,  joining leaders for an event at the Danville Childhood Development Center.

Those in attendance were: Angela Mattis, Montour County District Attorney; Ashley Mensch, director, Columbia County Family Center; Allison Shay, parent educator, Parents as Teachers; a mother benefiting from voluntary home visits and Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Childhood Begins at Home held an event in March to highlight the need for more evidence-based home visiting in Montgomery County.

Those who participated included:

  • Nadine Miller, deputy administrator, Resource Division, Office of Children and Youth, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Kevin Steele, Montgomery County District Attorney;
  • Rosemarie Halt, senior director of policy, Maternity Care Coalition;
  • A mother benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Family support advocates joined together at the Kingsley Center to discuss the need for evidence-based home visiting in Allegheny County.

The event included:

  • Marc Cherna, director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services;
  • Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department;
  • Cara Ciminillo, executive director of Trying Together;
  • Local families benefiting from voluntary home visits; and
  • Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Lycoming County First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade, joined with the Nurse-Family Partnership and other statewide and regional partners for a press conference at UPMC Susquehanna in Williamsport, to discuss evidence-based home visiting and the Childhood Begins at Home campaign’s efforts to ensure more state funding for the programs in Lycoming County.