Good afternoon Community Supporters, Donors and Friends of Matrix,
I am delighted to announce we have received notification from the Agency for Children and Families today that our Head Start grant funding application was accepted. Our new grant period will begin on July 1, 2019 and will be in place for the next five years. This grant award ensures that Matrix will continue its pre-eminent role in early childhood development for the most vulnerable children and families in Detroit. The new Head Start grant, combined with our existing Child Care Partnership program, means that Matrix remains one of the city’s largest providers of early childhood education.
My goal is for Matrix to have one of the best Head Start programs in the country. With this new grant, our program has the necessary resources, so the goal is attainable. And the reason I am so confident, it’s because we have a dedicated, forward thinking Head Start team that can make this goal happen. Because of you, along with the tremendous support we get from the community, Matrix will continue providing high-quality pre-K education and family support to those in need.
The new grant has focused priorities based on our experience over the last five years working with children from birth to five. We also recognize opportunities to improve the quality of our early-education services through one-on-one and team-based coaching, by providing dedicated mental health/behavior support, and reinforcing classroom safety through security devices on our doors and audio-visual systems in our centers. Other goals include improving parent engagement, providing wellness support for staff, comprehensive coordination of child health care services and resources, more efficient document handling, and even more.
Our program will be smaller, going from 1,794 children to 1,429. But by maintaining a similar grant level, the funding per child will go up. This increase will allow us to implement needed reforms like increased pay for teachers, which will improve recruitment, retention and make a better program for our children and families. Even though we will be smaller, we remain the largest Head Start provider in Detroit.
The enrollment reduction will reduce the number of three and four-year-olds the program serves. These children can be difficult to recruit and enroll due to the number of quality preschool programs offered by the city, state and private sector for this age group. We are confident that children and families in this age group will have access to quality to pre-K education.
As a community partner, supporter, donor or client, you all are important to us and it’s imperative we keep you updated on our status. I thank you for your continued support. As always, please feel free to reach out to me for any questions, comments or concerns.
CEO & President, Matrix Human Services
More on Matrix Human Services’ Head Start Programs
Matrix has two Head Start programs, The Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Program partners with child care providers to deliver services to children from birth to three years old in 22 child care centers in Detroit. The Birth to Five program provides early childhood development and quality care services to 1,429 children, ages birth to 5 that is delivered in family homes and our 16 Matrix Head Start centers across the city. The grant announcement referenced above is for the Birth to Five program.
The Birth to Five Program services include early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement. Head Start Birth to Five takes a two-generation approach, because families are integral to supporting children’s successful early learning and development. The program builds relationships with parents that support family well-being, promote strong relationships between parents and their children, and provide ongoing learning and development for both parents and children.
Head Start should not be confused with day care. The program uses a high-quality, research-based curriculum that promotes measurable progress toward children’s development. Subjects for curriculum content and learning outcomes include such domains as Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy, and Cognition.
Another unique feature of Head Start is the family partnership. Family Advocates, who function like social workers, are involved from the moment a child is enrolled to assist each family with needs identification and goal setting. They engage in regular communication with families to understand their goals for their children and themselves, and work toward those goals together. Families’ goals may include actions such as obtaining a job, housing stability, and advancing their own education.
Matrix’s Head Start program began in 1981, and currently operates in multiple Detroit service areas including Southwest Detroit, Central Detroit, and East Side.
Matrix Human Services Background
Detroit-based Matrix Human Services is a 113-year old, nonprofit social services organization committed to helping low income families and individuals reach self-sufficiency by offering positive life experiences. Matrix offers assistance with basic needs, teen mentoring/counseling, including early childhood education, adult workforce development, financial education, home buying programs and supportive services that defuse crisis, treat individual and family problems, and prevent neglect and abuse.
Matrix administers programs from prenatal care through teens in school and after school programs, teens at risk, an array of adult development programs, senior care, and a robust prevention and aftercare program that focuses on those at risk or living with HIV. Through these programs, the organization serves over 20,000 people annually.