Plans for the new Early Head Start centers in Billings, Bozeman/Belgrade and Helena/East Helena are similar to those at the AWARE Center for Early Childhood in Butte, Montana.

AWARE to open Early Head Start Centers

A DPHHS grant to fund centers in Billings, Bozeman and Helena

AWARE Inc. received a federal grant for $3.8 million from the Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will help expand its Early Head Start program to serve an additional 104 children and their families. AWARE Early Childhood Services Director Melinda Wade Corso received official notice Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

The federal grant will allow AWARE to open Early Head Start Centers to the Billings, Bozeman/Belgrade and Helena/East Helena communities. Each center will serve 24 children in classroom settings. Thirty-two children will receive Early Head Start services in partnerships with local child cares. AWARE has operated Early Head Start in Butte since 1998.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to provide center-based services to children in these three communities,” Corso said. “We have been providing Early Head Start services through child care partnerships in Helena and Bozeman and having a center in these communities will give an additional option for parents who may not be working or going to school full time.”

The new centers will also house AWARE’s early childhood mental health teams with clinicians who specialize in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). PCIT is an effective, unique approach that coaches parents on how to manage their child’s behaviors. PCIT works with the child and caregiver together to improve behavior and reduce parenting stress.

“Our early childhood services have a strong emphasis on supporting the social and emotional development of the child,” Corso said. “PCIT is a way to support and give parents very concrete tools so they can see results. Parenting is hard, and even the best parents can use help in managing their child’s challenging behaviors.”

AWARE is in the process of locating buildings for each of the centers. Corso says hopefully at least two of the three centers up and running within in the year.

About AWARE Early Childhood Services

Early Head Start is federally funded, full-day and full-year, family-centered early care and education program for low-income infants and toddlers (ages birth to three). The program provides continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services to enhance the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of participating children.
AWARE’s Early Childhood Mental Health Services are available to all families, regardless of income. Programs include Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Teacher Child Interaction Therapy, individual and group therapy, Home Support Services (HSS), community support and case management

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