Funding for Early Head Start is secure, after SC First Steps gave it up

Funding for Early Head Start is secure, after SC First Steps gave it up

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - According to SC First Steps Director Georgia Mjartan, the federal grant for millions of dollars that her agency's board voted to relinquish in June has been secured by another organization and will be switching hands.

Mjartan says the South Carolina Community Action Partnership received the multi-million dollar grant to fund Early Head Start for about 250 children in 12 counties.

The SC First Steps board gave up the money in a meeting in mid-June, citing allegations of abuse at two childcare centers as a reason the federal government would not be allowing the funds even without their relinquishing them.

The Early Head Start is a program that prepares children up to 3 years old for school. Parents and childcare providers packed-out the June board meeting, several expressing concerns and fears children would be without care and preparation for Kindergarten.

Although Mjartan says there was no gap in programs for children between the time their grant ended and the new organization took over, she admits two childcare centers had to close for lack of funding. She says children have been transferred to other providers.

In a meeting before a panel of senators on Thursday, Mjartan made the grant announcement. Senators are now working on recommendations for changes at SC First Steps.

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