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Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), Childcare Network of Evanston (CNE) will receive $1.7 million in new money to support its Early Head Start (EHS) programs, which serve the most vulnerable infants, toddlers, families and pregnant women 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,” commented 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 years old.

CNE is considered one of the “gold standard” providers of EHS services.  Its programs emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach.  This holistic approach is designd 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 that will serve 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,” explained 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 childcare providers.  With the ARRA funds, CNE will extend EHS 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 EHS families.