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Do you know what Early Learning Scholarships are?

The Early learning Scholarship Program increases access to high-quality early childhood programs for three- and four-year-old children with the highest needs to improve school readiness. Children birth to 2 years old are eligible as well as they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Child of a teen parent
  • Currently in foster care
  • In need of child protective services
  • Experienced homelessness in the last 24 months
  • Sibling of a current awarded child

An Early Learning Scholarship can help families pay for high-quality child care, parent co-pays, additional fees, transportation and additional eligible early education costs to help children get ready for school. Families may use the Pathway I Early Learning Scholarship at any eligible child care or early education program in Minnesota with a Parent Aware Rating; family child care, center based, head start, and school readiness programs. Priority for scholarships will be given based on one of the special populations as noted previously. Families must meet eligibility requirements as outlined in Minnesota Statute. 

Pathway l Scholarships are awarded directly to families who meet these eligibility requirements and the funds are paid to the Parent Aware-Rated early childhood program that the family chooses. Pathway l Scholarships "follow the child" and are awarded to the family for up to 12 months and renewable if not kindergarten eligible. Scholarship amounts are based on the Parent Aware rating level of the program you choose; up to $7,500 per scholarship can be awarded. 

Did You Know...

The Families First Head Start Program provides community-based child and family development programming for families living in Olmsted and Freeborn counties. 

Families First also provides programming in Winona County in partnership with the local Head Start grantee. Head Start focuses on preparing pregnant women and young children birth to 5 years old, and their families, for a successful future. Activities are designed to strengthen the ability of children to learn and succeed. Essential information, training and services are provided so that parents are able to build a better life for their children and fulfill the role as the primary educator of their children. 

Parents participate in the program through literacy activities, home visits, parent trainings, committees, classroom activities, the Head Start Policy Council, and the Head Start Health Services Advisory Committee. Home Visitors work in a partnership with families to access resources and set goals. 

A Few Things to Know About
Crisis Nursery

Crisis Nursery is a family support program for anyone living in Olmsted County experiencing a crisis, regardless of income. Crisis Nursery helps families in need by providing safe, temporary care with a licensed child care or overnight care provider. Additional services include crisis counseling and support, parent education, in-home family counseling, referral to community resources and a monthly parent education group called PARRK (Parents and Relatives Raising Kids). 

Did you know...

  • Most families that use Crisis Nursery are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations
  • All of our services are at no cost to families
  • Services may be accessed outside normal business hours by contacting the after-hours social workers at 507-281-6248
  • We provide diapers, wipes and formula up to once per month for families struggling financially
  • Crisis Nursery accepts donations of diapers (larger sizes are needed more often!), wipes, formula, gas cards and gift cards (Target, Walmart, etc.)
  • Financial donations are always welcome and can be mailed or delivered to our main office, 
    126 Woodlake Drive SE in Rochester.  

Families First Child Care Consultation Project

Families First of Minnesota recently received a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust to address the growing shortage of family child care in Olmsted County. There is a need in our communities to encourage retention of licensed family child care providers and to support new family child care programs. 

Through the Child Care Consultation Project, individuals who are in the process of becoming licensed, newly licensed, or expanding their family child care business will be connected with a Child Care Consultant who will offer technical support, connections to local resources, one-on-one coaching and incentive dollars to help programs be successful. 

For more information, or to join the Child Care Consultation Project, contact Shannon at 507.287.2020, ext. 1501 or by email shannonw@familiesfirstmn.org

Early Education Opportunities

Families First is taking applications for the 2018-2019 program year for Early Head Start, Head Start and School Readiness. 

  • Head Start provides no-cost educational opportunities for income-eligible families that have children ages 3 or 4 by Sept. 1.
  • Early Head Start provides weekly home visits for pregnant women, infants and toddlers, as well as some educational opportunities for children ages 18 months up to 3 years. 
  • School Readiness provides low-cost preschool opportunities for income-eligible families that have children ages 3 or 4 by Sept. 1.

Click here for a brochure with more details on each program. 
 

We accept applications year-round, but encourage families to return their completed application along with proof of family income as soon as they can. This is important because funding and program spaces are limited. 

  • Click here to print the application. Click here for an application in Spanish. 
  • Click here to access our online applications. They can be printed out or submitted online directly to our office. If you have questions or if we can assist you in any way, please feel free to call 507-287-2009.

Consider Contributing to Families First

Please consider making a donation to Families First. It's easy to give in two ways:

  • Click on the blue "Make a gift" button at the top of our website.
  • Send a contribution to Families First of Minnesota, 126 Woodlake Drive S.E., Rochester, MN, 55904.

Thanks for thinking of the parents, children and community members we serve.

PARENT AWARE for Child Care Providers and Early Educators

Enhance the quality of your child care program with coaching and Quality Improvement Support dollars through Parent Aware! Want to learn more?

Contact Amber English, Parent Aware Recruiter, at ambere@familiesfirstmn.org or (507) 287-2020 ext. 1404.

PARRK (Parents And Relatives Raising Kids)

Crisis Nursery's PARRK group (Parents And Relatives Raising Kids) is a no-cost education group for anyone raising children in Olmsted County. The education group meets on the third Tuesday of the month from 6:45 to 8:15 pm. Topics include communication with children, First Aid, Drug Awareness, Stress Management, and more. May's event is the annual picnic. No-cost child care and limited transportation are available. To register or learn more, please contact Nikki at 507-424-1547 or at nicoles@familiesfirstmn.org.

Early Learning Scholarships

Families First administers Early Learning Scholarships in our 20-county area in Regions 9 and 10 in southeastern Minnesota, along with Dakota, Scott and Carver counties in the Metro West Region, and Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, Pine and Chisago counties in Region 7E.

Early Learning Scholarships are available for qualifying 3- and 4-year-old children of income-eligible families. Please call 888-450-2773 for further details!

Work at Families First of Minnesota

Families First of Minnesota is a great place to work! For information on current job openings, click here.

 

 

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