The Hopewell Center stepped up 18 years ago to help families with infants and toddlers by taking on the Early Head Start program. Local families that meet income guidelines can get a jump start in helping their young ones in reading and math.
The center at 53rd and Main streets in Anderson has performed a commendable job; its staff has done admirable work. As of last week, 99 children were being served.
But with little notice, the federal government pulled its $600,000 grant to Hopewell. The loss means disruption to the lives of families and that social workers will be looking for jobs.
Mid-week, the contract was officially awarded to Transition Resources Corp., a division of Telamon Corp, which operates Head Start programs in Madison and Delaware counties. The company is known as a reputable firm that hosts programs for at-risk youth and the children of farm workers, among other services.
The important part of the switch-over, of course, is that no families or children be dissuaded from the services or lost in transition.
Early Head Start is a critical, federally-funded child development program. It serves a clientele that often has nowhere else to turn. In addition to early education, the program connects families with medical, mental health and nutrition programs.
The program and participating families have relied upon the expertise and caring by its staff. It would be heartbreaking to see some of those social workers lose their jobs. It would be encouraging and an example of a smooth transition if some of those staffers would be considered by services offering Early Head Start.
No one wants a needy family to suffer in this change.
And the same sentiment can be said of the social workers who have devoted themselves to serving those families.