CNE, District 65 to partner with collective $21M in federal grant awards

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that Childcare Network of Evanston and Evanston / Skokie Community Consolidated School District 65 are the grant recipients for early childhood services in Northern Cook County. The District and CNE will work closely to ensure the best and most efficient use of these federal funds to support the best outcomes for children and families in its communities.

CNE was awarded $8.5 million over the next five years to provide early childhood education and family supports to children and families in eight North Suburban communities from Evanston, Skokie, Morton Grove and Lincolnwood to Northbrook, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka.

“This is a great opportunity to follow the vision recently unveiled by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell for continued improved services for our children and families,” said CNE’s Executive Director, Andrea Densham. “We are eager to begin this important work.”

The District will receive $13.25 million over the next five years to further support and expand early childhood programming and services for students and their families.

“We are thrilled to receive news of the grant award,” said Paul Goren, District 65 Superintendent of Schools. “This funding will allow us the opportunity to provide a seamless early childhood experience for our children and families.”

These awards represent a continuum of opportunities and supports available for Evanston area children and their families. In the 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke on the vital importance of early learning and called for greater investment in this area. Together, the federal grants will infuse more than $21 million over the course of five years, benefiting the community’s youngest residents through services focused on social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

CNE will support 144 children who will receive weekly education and family support visits in their home from early childhood specialists and 28 children who receive early childhood services in family care settings. In addition to these core services, CNE will provide peer groups for parents; connection to medical services through Erie Family Health Center; linkage to career services through National Able Network; coordination with youth serving organizations to ensure community schools are linked to early learning support; and transition planning for children entering kindergarten.

The District, along with the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston (IWSE), will also be providing Early Head Start services, but these services will be provided on-site at IWSE and at the District’s Joseph E. Hill Early Childhood Center where learning occurs in a community with other children and parents.  The District’s grant also includes comprehensive preschool for the City’s 3- to 5-year-olds.  In these classrooms, children will receive instruction from certified early childhood teachers in formative literacy in reading and math, and problem solving, while encouraging curiosity and cooperating in groups.  Since these are District classrooms there is an intentional emphasis on preparing young children for kindergarten.

“We look forward to working alongside the Childcare Network of Evanston and our community partners to provide much-needed programming and services to the children and families of Evanston and Skokie,” Goren said. “In the coming years, we will work together to find meaningful ways to support our early childhood families.”

“We at CNE look forward to working together with District 65 as we all focus on improving outcomes for children and families,” Densham added.

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