|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, February 14, 1997|
State Education Department Expands Massachusetts Family Network
Malden - Massachusetts Education Commissioner Robert V. Antonucci announced today that eight new sites have been selected to expand the Massachusetts Family Network, which provides important services for families with children from birth through age three.
The eight new Massachusetts Family Network programs will open in Attleboro, Boston, Everett/Malden, Franklin County, Haverhill, Holyoke, Somerville and Springfield, and will help young families living in thirty-eight surrounding cities and towns.
The new programs were made possible because funding was increased in this year's budget from $1.4 million to $2.4 million. Each site receives an amount ranging from $100,000 to $150,000, and it is anticipated that each project will continue to receive funding through 1998, subject to appropriations in the 1998 state budget.
The Massachusetts Family Network is an outreach project authorized by the Education Reform Act of 1993 to link existing educational, health and social services within the community to provide a comprehensive and streamlined approach to helping families and their young children.
Commissioner Antonucci stated, "More than 6,500 young families have already participated in this project, and it's great news that thousands more will now get that chance. I am delighted that Governor Weld, Lt. Governor Cellucci, and the state Legislature are continuing their backing for this special project so that our youngest children can gain this essential support and therefore will be more likely to succeed in school."
There are now 18 Massachusetts Family Network projects across the state. The other sites are in Cambridge, Concord Area, Great Barrington Area, Assabet Valley Area, Martha's Vineyard, Medford, Milford, New Bedford, Northampton and Worcester, and they serve families living in nearly 60 surrounding communities.
The Massachusetts Family Network sites work to connect parents to child-support services, including home visits, teaches parents about child development, provides health, language and motor screening, and offers literacy classes and counseling.
Thirty-nine proposals were submitted for this competitive grant, and the proposals were reviewed by teams comprised of staff from the Department of Education,representatives of existing Massachusetts Family Network projects along with other agencies. The teams made recommendations to Commissioner Antonucci, who make the final decision on these contracts.
For more information on the new Massachusetts Family Network sites, contact the Attleboro Public Schools, Dorchester Cares in Boston, Tri-Cap Children and Family Services in Everett/Malden, Franklin Community Action Corporation in Franklin County, Community Action in Haverhill, the Holyoke Public Schools, the Somerville Public Schools, and the Springfield Public Schools.