State grant funds early learning services at Walla Walla Center for Children and Families
Walla Walla Public Schools was recently awarded $50,000 from the Washington State Department of Commerce to the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families. These grant funds will provide Family Resource Center support services, activities, and opportunities that are strengths-based, integrated, comprehensive, flexible and responsive to community-identified needs. Grant funding will also increase engagement between community partners, families and local stakeholders around case conferencing, program collaboration and informational communication.
Aligned with the intent of the grant funds, the district will directly support the Walla Walla Center for Children and Families (WWCCF) as it utilizes a framework of summer parent, family and community engagement.
CCF will leverage the WA Family Resource Center Program grant funds to accomplish three clear objectives, including:
1. Increasing families’ access to needed information, services and supportive relationships by extending targeted engagement and relationship-building activities into the summer months.
2. Empowering more families to reach their goals with expanded capacity for family service navigation and intensive case management.
3. Fully leveraging community resources for families by investing in the development of structures and systems for evaluation, case conferencing, collaboration and communication across community partners and CCF programs.
"Summer is a critical time for engaging new families, as well as for maintaining connections to vulnerable families who are working towards goals that will improve their children’s lives," says Brent Cummings, Director at the Center for Children & Families. "With the support of WA Family Resource Center grant funds, CCF will extend key outreach and engagement positions into the summer months, including the Enrollment Coordinator, four Head Start Family Advocates, and two ECEAP Family Support Specialists."
The award of the WA Family Resource Center Program funds will help support the addition of a full-time, year-round Communities in Schools (CIS) Student & Community Advocate at the WWCCF. CIS currently has Student & Community Advocates at eight WWPS elementary, middle and high schools who are working to integrate service systems and connect students to caring adults and community resources.
"The addition of the CIS Student & Community Advocate at the CCF will build the Center’s capacity to provide both drop-in and comprehensive family support services, especially for the approximately 150 families not served by the intensive Head Start and ECEAP programs," Cummings says. “This includes families with children birth-to-3 and those enrolled in Transition to Kindergarten (TK) and the Center’s Developmental Preschool (SPED) program.”
The Center for Children and Families provides birth-to-five services for children and parents as a coordinated and comprehensive community learning hub. From parenting education and support to infant care and early learning, WWCCF is far more than just a preschool. Its services address and help overcome the staggering access gap for many Walla Walla children and families, promoting an inclusive community resource that encourages integration, engagement and opportunity for all. Currently, the CCF is the only local early learning and family resource center in the region. The Center has built a network of partner organizations that provide co-located services and warm handoff/referrals that allow our community to leverage resources, meet needs, and avoid duplicative efforts.