ELIZABETHTOWN - Young families in Essex County will soon have another friend to lean on.
Adirondack Community Action Programs announced Dec. 21 that they have been awarded a grant to provide Early Head Start services in Essex County.
Federally funded by the Department for Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, Early Head Start aims to provide support to families with children age 0-3.
"I think it's going to be an awesome, much-needed program for the county," said Miki Hopper, Child and Family Services Director at ACAP.
Hopper said the program will serve 72 families across Essex County, helping to enhance children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual development, assist pregnant women with access to prenatal and postpartum care, support parent's efforts in fulfilling their parental roles, and assist parents in moving toward self-sufficiency.
"The grant was supported by our community partners who were a major asset in our being considered for the grant and will be a major part of our success," said Hopper, noting the demand for early childhood services in the area has been strong as of late.
The grant will allow ACAP to hire 11 new employees to coordinate and administer services. Eight of those new hires will be family advocates that will be available to travel to the homes of participating families.
Hopper said going and helping people in their homes will make the program convenient for them to utilize. It will also allow family advocates to build a positive relationship with those who do.
"I think it will serve a population that's typically a homebound population," said Hopper. "Maybe there are transportation issues or other children in the home."
Through the family advocates, families will have access to health and education resources, referrals to other support programs, and even transportation to medical appointments for the children.