Joplin based Head Start targeting children under served by program

Program emphasizing situation as well as income

When Terrah Ingram moved to Neosho a few years ago, she and her husband struggled to find a good place for child care.

Terrah Ingram, Joplin Resident: “One of the things we found is we just didn’t feel comfortable, we didn’t feel welcomed. So, when I had somebody mention Head Start to me, we went to the office, people were extremely pleasant, they were very nice to my kids, and it was just this friendly family atmosphere.”

Now she lives in Joplin and has seven kids, ranging from eleven years old to one week old.

And three of them have already completed the Head Start program.

Ingram: “My husband works, but it’s small whenever you’re a large family. We make ends meet most of the time, but Head Start being need based means that my kid gets learning, a friendship, and quality care and love in a program that’s not gonna cost me an arm and a leg.”

Head Start is a federal program, but our local program is run by the Economic Security Corporation.

It’s for families under the poverty line, as well as foster kids, homeless children, and children from families who get temporary assistance and SSI.

The local Head Start advisory board for Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties has just decided to put more emphasis on helping foster kids, homeless children, and kids from families who get SSI.

Debbie Markman, Economic Security Corporation: “One of the important things is one being able to serve the most in need families because that’s what we’re charged by Head Start to do. That’s what we’re all about is if we have a huge need, then we need to look at that.”

They’ve also expanded their definition of homelessness to include someone who may have a place to go, but doesn’t have a permanent residence.

Markman: “And we want people to know that because again, we want the children that are in, and families that are in the most need.”

All things Ingram is glad to see happen.

Ingram: “I think their making a bigger difference then sometimes they realize.”

The next round of classes start on the 15-th, so Markman stresses that it’s very important for interested parents to get applications turned in within the next three to five days.

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