Madison County Regional Office of Education Superintendent Dr. Robert Daiber, left, and state Sen. James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis), speak at a press conference Monday at the Madison County Administration Building in Edwardsville.
EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Regional Office of Education Superintendent Dr. Robert Daiber has announced the launch of an Early Care Program for Venice School District 3.
In a press release, Daiber said the Regional Office of Education applied for an Early Care Grant through the Department of Human Services to begin the early childhood program because of the elimination of the Venice Head Start program, the second year some children in the Venice community have lacked services.
Daiber said Madison County Regional Office of Education will serve as the fiscal agent of the $200,000 grant. Venice School District Superintendent Dr. Cullen Cullen will have responsibility for the administration of the program.
Cullen said the program will serve children ages 3 to 5. The program will be a foundational development for children in a region where 96 percent of children qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and 30 percent are federally classified as homeless.
Daiber indicated the Department of Human Services Grant was to target geographic areas that had the demographics that showed true need. Daiber quoted the DHS statistics that indicated at-risk children who do not receive a high-quality early childhood education are:
- 25 percent more likely to drop out of school
- 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent
- 50 percent more likely to be placed in special education
- 60 percent more likely to never attend college
- 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime
Daiber recognized state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), 113th District; and state Sen. James Clayborne (D-East St. Louis), 56th District; for their assistance in securing the grant funds.
“Early childhood programs are a cost-effective way to ensure a healthy development of children in poverty and offer the greatest returns to society,” Hoffman said.
“Providing opportunities for our youth in poverty is essential for these children to have foundational skills to begin school,” Clayborne said. “This is a true outcome of this grant.”
“Although this is a start-up grant, it gives Venice School District the opportunity to put a vital program in place and submit application for early childhood funding,” Daiber said.