Medical and Dental Health
All children have a right to good health. CAW/M supports parents in securing health insurance and staying on target with required examinations and immunizations. We encourage physical activity for children and adults to help promote a healthy lifestyle.
Children with special medical needs are welcome in our programs. Our health specialist will work with parents and medical professionals to ensure staff has the training and supplies needed to care for each child.
Dental health is also an extremely important aspect of children’s healthy development. As with medical exams and treatment above, our staff works with parents and community dental providers to ensure proper care is received. We also educate children on the importance of taking care of their teeth and model toothbrushing every day.
All children enrolled in the Head Start center-based program are provided nutritious meals free of charge as part of the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program. Meals and snacks follow strict dietary guidelines and we can accommodate special diets and allergies with a physician’s statement. Children’s meals are served family style to teach children skills such as passing, pouring, serving, and waiting their turn. Conversation during meal time is child focused and inclusive of all children which teaches conversation and social skills.
All children’s nutritional status is assessed at least annually. Those children who have been identified as needing intervention receive nutritional referrals and/or support by our Nutrition Family Visitor. CAW/M’s Nutrition Family Visitor also provides demonstrations and training on healthy eating, activity, and meal preparation throughout the year.
Children with all physical and developmental abilities are welcomed in CAW/M programs. In fact, Head Start and Early Head Start programs are required to have a minimum of 10% of the funded enrollment be children with disabilities. If your child has an existing Individualized Family Service Plan/Individualized Education Plan (IFSP/IEP), staff will work in collaboration with the Local Education Agency and individualize lesson plans to focus on the child’s goals. All children are assessed regularly using observation and screening results and can be referred for further evaluation if needed.
CAW/M’s staff are also here to support parents in advocating for their child’s needs. We will attend IFSP/IEP meetings with parents to ensure their voice is heard when developing goals and plans for their child and also educate parents as to their rights and their child’s rights in regards to special services.
Children from birth to 5 years are learning to develop social-emotional relationships with their peer and adults as they explore their environments. CAW/M partners with contracted mental health professionals who observe in the classrooms and provide coaching for teachers on how to support children. Any child who is having difficulty interacting with peers or adjusting to changes inside or outside of the center may receive more individualized support.
Partners In Advocacy:
For families and children in crisis, CAW/M has a Partners In Advocacy Therapist on staff. The PIA Therapist works with the families in their own homes on a short-term basis to overcome the immediate crisis and connect with community support for the long term.
Parent, Family, Community Engagement (PFCE)
PFCE is the cornerstone of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. When children see their parents taking an active interest in their education, the child is more likely to be interested as well.
We offer a variety of ways for parents and community members to be engaged with the program.
In partnership with the agency’s board of directors, the HS/EHS program is governed by the parent Policy Council. This group is comprised of elected representatives from each center and home base region. Members meet on a monthly basis and have the responsibility to provide input to and approve grant applications, staff hires, agency goals, and more.
Each center and home base region also have monthly parent meetings to discuss the curriculum and any other items or events specific to the center. Any parent or guardian who wishes to attend is welcomed.
Dads and all other positive male role models are encouraged to participate in the program. Research shows that children are more likely to thrive when they have an active male role model in their lives. The goal of our programs is to strengthen the role of the father in their child’s development.
Parents, caregivers, and community members who are unable to participate formally are welcomed and encouraged to volunteer their time in other ways. Whether it is reading stories, sharing a special skill or assisting with class projects, your time is much appreciated. CAW/M is required to match our federal funding by in-kind donations. Most of that donation comes from volunteer time. Contact us to find out how you can help.