|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, December 2, 1997|
Eight Thousand Children Statewide to Benefit from New Grants for Early Childhood Education
Malden - Massachusetts Education Commissioner Robert V. Antonucci announced today that $28.8 million has been awarded to 127 new sites to support two early childhood education programs for 8,200 more children under age 4 in Massachusetts.
Grants totaling $28 million have been awarded to 122 programs in the Community Partnerships for Children, which provides affordable early childhood education programs for three- and four-year old children of working parents. With this new money, 5,200 more three-and four-year olds in 260 cities and towns throughout the state will participate in preschool programs. Begun in 1993, the program will now serve a total of 15,000 children.
Additionally, grants amounting to $749,000 will fund five new projects in the Massachusetts Family Network, which provides outreach and education services to families with children ages birth to 3 years. The new grants will support 2,600 families and 3,000 children in 22 more towns in these areas: Outer Cape Cod, Chelsea-Revere, Lawrence-Methuen, Southeastern Massachusetts and Quincy.
Commissioner Antonucci said, "More than ten thousand young children and their families have participated in these important early-learning programs, and it's great news that thousands more will have the opportunity to receive support, so that more young children will have a good start and a better chance to succeed in school. This is a goal of Education Reform, and I am delighted that Governor Cellucci, the Legislature and the Board of Education are continuing their backing for more early childhood education."
Since 1993, the statewide budget for early childhood education has increased from $12.9 million to $60 million in 1997, and the Massachusetts Board of Education is asking for an additional $170 million for early childhood education in its FY '99 state education budget request.
The Education Reform Act of 1993 authorized the creation of a statewide family outreach and education project to develop a coordinated system of services within the community. The aim was to provide educational, health and social services to parents with children ages birth to three years. This project, the Massachusetts Family Network, began in 1995 with 10 demonstration sites, and has expanded to 23 statewide projects, which provide support to 13,000 families and 16,000 children in 118 cities and town. Services include home visits, guidance in child development, screenings for health, language and physical development, adult education, family literacy activities, support groups, child care and transportation.
The statewide Community Partnerships for Children program supports community agencies in combining their resources to provide quality, affordable and accessible early childhood education for 3- and 4-year old children of working parents. Parent education programs are offered, as well. With the increased Community Partnerships for Children funding, more than 15,000 young children are participate in CPC programs.