Riverbend Head Start & Family Services

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Our Head Start and Early Head Start programs are voluntary. Families in Madison County, Illinois enroll because they want to improve their lives.

We support pregnant parents, babies, toddlers and preschoolers who may already be at-risk of failing in school or life by strengthening the entire family through education, health and social services. Our methods include home visits and family centers.

Home visits involve goal-setting with parents, parent education, child development activities and crisis intervention. Family centers provide free preschool, family-bonding events and parent group meetings.

Program Options: Preschool or Home Visiting
Head Start: Preschool children 3-5 years
Early Head Start: Pregnant women and children under 3 years

Parents of children with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Who Qualifies?

Madison County, Illinois families with a child ages birth through five qualify for our Head Start and Early Head Start if they are living at 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, have a child with a disability or are involved with the Department of Children and Family Services. We also enroll pregnant mothers.

To Apply You Will Need:

Child Development 

In the early years a mind grows by leaps and bounds. It is a time of new discoveries that set the course for a lifelong learning process. Head Start realizes this and takes its role of developing these young minds very seriously.

We work on early reading and math, developing physical and motor skills, relationship skills and building a child’s vocabulary.

If a child has a disability, we work one-on-one with family and child to again give that child and family a head start on the lifelong learning process. Children receive a comprehensive screening to signal any possible delays. When delays are noted, staff work to address and make referrals for further assessment.

We facilitate weekly early childhood development activities with children and parents through the Parents as Teachers and other early learning models.

Family Involvement

Parents are a child's first and best teacher! That's why we work hard getting parents involved in every level of their child's life. We offer parent meetings and workshops, teach parents how to use their home as a learning place and encourage parents to volunteer in our classrooms and to become leaders in the agency by serving on Policy Council.

Our staff works with each family to create a plan to address challenges they are facing by empowering them to set goals. Goals may be for parents to develop their own reading skills or to enroll in a GED or adult education program. We offer parenting skills training and interactive parent and child activities.

One of the best tools we provide for parents is a Community Resource Directory of the health and human services available in our communities.

Health and Nutrition

The learning process is diminished when a child is hungry or unhealthy. Head Start strongly believes that a child must be healthy in order to learn. We create healthy children through:    

- daily nutritious meals & snacks

- immunizations/shots

- hearing & vision screenings

- growth measurements

- TB testing

- tests for lead poisoning & anemia

- dental exams

- physical exams

- mental health support & counseling

- health education

- weight management support