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Penobscot Bay Press
Community Information Services

News Feature

Washington, D.C.
Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 20, 2022 and Island Ad-Vantages, January 20, 2022 and The Weekly Packet, January 20, 2022
Senators Collins, King announce over $1.1 million for Downeast Head Start programs

Senators Susan Collins and Angus King recently announced that Downeast Community Partners has received a total of $1,177,159 for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, and early childhood education is a key building block for long-term success. Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide children and families across our state with invaluable educational opportunities, reduce the impacts of poverty, and build skills that will last a lifetime,” said Collins and King in a press release. “This grant is an important investment in the families of Hancock and Washington counties, and we look forward to seeing Downeast Community Partners’ continued good work during these challenging times.”

“Downeast Community Partners, the Head Start grantee for Hancock and Washington counties, is excited to enter into our 52nd year of providing comprehensive services to children and families across our service area. Now more than ever it is critical for children and families to have access to the holistic approach we provide in our early care and education services along with our integrated whole family coaching supports,” said Melissa Mattes, Downeast Community Partner’s Director of Early Childhood Programs. “We have remained open during the pandemic so that children have consistency and stability in their daily lives and parents can remain in the workforce to support their family and the community. Along with our public school partners we are continuing to provide high quality early education experiences in schools across both counties. The federal Head Start funding combined with state, local, and private funding supports our mission to improve the quality of life and reduce the impact of poverty in our communities.”

Downeast Community Partners is one of Coastal Maine’s premier child and family support organizations, according to the release. The funding will specifically be used to build on their partnership with Child Development Services to provide a supportive classroom for children with developmental delays and to support the organization’s hardworking staff as they continue to build their capacity and professional development during challenging times.