HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has announced the creation of a new integrated system of supports for families and early learning providers, and Community Services for Children will be the lead agency for five regions and 17 counties.
These regional Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) are designed to improve the quality of and access to early education programs and help families access other critical services, such as child care subsidy, while ensuring they find the best child care options.
“The Wolf administration believes that all children and families should have access to high-quality child care,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “The announcement of ELRCs is groundbreaking for Pennsylvania’s comprehensive early learning system. The department looks forward to supporting integrated, innovative agencies as they increase access to and continue quality-building for early learning programs.”
Starting July 1, ELRCs will combine the work of Child Care Information Service Agencies and the Regional Keys to create one-stop hubs where families and early learning providers can seek resources and support. ELRCs will administer more than $680 million in child care subsidies, allowing Pennsylvania parents to maintain employment while their children learn and develop. Child care professionals will obtain support and coaching to bolster quality outcomes, build connections with community partners and help families access services such as Head Start, Pre-K Counts, home visitation and Early Intervention. CSC is the sole provider of Head Start and Early Head Start in the Lehigh Valley.
“CSC is proud to be part of this transformation, using an innovative approach to ensure that all children and families have the services they need to be successful,” said Paula Margraf, CSC CEO and President. “This is an exciting opportunity for CSC, one that will take us one step closer to realizing our mission, and achieving our goal to increase access for children and families to high-quality early education.”
CSC will operate ELRCs in Region 11: Bradford, Columbia, Luzerne, Montour, Sullivan and Wyoming counties; Region 12: Carbon, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties; Region 13: Berks and Schuylkill counties; Region 14: Lehigh and Northampton counties; and Region 16: Bucks County.
Community Services for Children is a regional leader in early childhood education, affecting the lives of 40,000 children annually. Its Head Start program is recognized as a national center of excellence and innovation.