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The Childcare Network of Evanston (CNE) will receive $1.7 million through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to support its Early Head Start programs that serve the most vulnerable infants, toddlers, families, and pregnantwomen in Evanston Skokie, Morton Grove and surrounding communities.   

“Now more than ever, more and more children are at risk due to cuts in services. Finally, there is some good news,” said Martha Arntson, executive director of CNE.  “This money will help us expand our comprehensive support services for these children, but also to help parents improve parenting skills and move toward self-sufficiency, which is the foundation for a healthy and productive family.” 

Early Head Start was launched in 1995 to provide ongoing, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services. The purpose is to foster physical, social, emotional and intellectual development for children 0-3 yrs old.

CNE’s Early Head Start programs emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach. This holistic approach has consistently been proven to be the most effective way to address the full range of a family’s needs from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday.  

The ARRA money will also enable CNE to launch a new home visiting option, which is needed due to the increasing numbers of parents out of work. “Due to record unemployment numbers, many of our parents are in between jobs and can no longer keep their kids in childcare centers. Our home-based services enable us not to abandon these families when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Ms. Arntson.  

CNE currently partners with the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston and the Child Care Center of Evanston’s Family Child Care Connections, a network of family child care providers. With the ARRA funds, CNE will extend Early Head Start partnerships for Center-Based services at District 65 Family Center, and the Mayer Kaplan Jewish Community Center Children’s Center in Skokie. These new partners will support 40 Early Head Start families.