Etcetera - 02/22/10

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to award $933,171 in funding to Early Head Start programs provided by Children's Home Society of Washington across the state.

CHSW is now able to serve 108 more children statewide (312 children total).

This is the first time since 1999 where Early Head Start services have expanded. The grant will expand services to children and families in Walla Walla, North King and South King counties in the Seattle area.

They are all target communities with a significantly high percentage of children who live below the federal poverty level: 23 percent in Walla Walla; 17 percent in South King County and 9 percent in North King.

The percentage of families who do not meet the self-sufficiency standard -- a no-frills, basic-needs budget -- is on the rise as well in these communities: in Walla Walla, 30 percent of families do not earn enough for basic needs; 22 percent in South King; and 14 percent in North King do not make a living wage.

The expansion of Early Head Start to these communities will help provide children with building blocks for future success in school.

In Walla Walla, 18 additional children will be served through home visiting, and 16 additional children of pregnant and parenting teens will be served at an on-site childcare center in Lincoln High School in Walla Walla.

In addition, 14 new jobs were created in the target communities to properly care for and serve the children and families.

The expansion effort was developed with the help of the EHS Policy Council and Parent Committees, North

FACES, South FACES, SOAR (an early learning and family support coalition) and Walla Walla Valley Early

Learning Coalition, and United Way of King County. CHSW will begin serving children and families by the end of this month. To learn more, visit childrenshomesociety.org.

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Robert Keatts, president of the Walla Walla Sasayama Sister City Committee, is seeking host families for 13 girls who will visit here from Sasayama, Japan, March 24-April 3.

Those interested in hosting visitors may e-mail him at robert_wwscc@yahoo.com or call 525-0049.

"Spring break is going to hurt us this year as many families are leaving town. So I am desperate. Only have four families so far and that is not near enough," Robert said.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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