Children First named a national Program of Excellence by national association

The designation puts the Sarasota program in the top 1% in the U.S.

Image from the Children First website
Image from the Children First website

Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, has been recognized as a Program of Excellence by the National Head Start Association (NHSA), Children First has announced.

“The designation, which is for the 2016-2021 term, places Children First in the top 1% of more than 1,800 Head Start programs nationwide,” the release points out. “This is the fourth consecutive time that Children First has been honored as a national Program of Excellence by the NHSA,” the release adds.

“It is such an honor to once again be named a National Program of Excellence,” says Philip Tavill, president and CEO of Children First, in the release. “This recognition speaks not only to the incredible dedication and quality of our highly skilled teachers and staff, but also to the exceptional nature of our facilities and to the comprehensive programming we offer children and families living in poverty within our community.”

“According to the National Head Start Association, National Program of Excellence designations are earned by Head Start programs that consistently demonstrate excellence in programming, management and service performance, and that continually support the achievement of robust outcomes for at-risk children” from birth to age 5, as well as pregnant women, families and their communities, the release notes.

“Founded in 1961, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being,” the release continues. At 13 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, along with nutrition and health care assistance, the release explains.

Children First also helps families with parenting skills and literacy classes, career training and referrals for housing, food, clothing and employment assistance, the release points out. “All are critical since the annual income for the families Children First serves is at or below the federal poverty level of $20,160 for a family of three,” the release adds.