June 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Matrix Human Services awarded $125M federal grant to provide services to Head Start

Detroit — Matrix Human Services has been awarded a $125 million federal grant for five years to educate and provide Head Start services children in Detroit.

The federal Office of Head Start is investing approximately $50 million annually in Matrix Head Start and other Head Start programs in Detroit including a collaborative lead by Starfish Family Services.

At Matrix, the grant funding will allow for a planned expansion from 14 to 28 centers by January with increased enrollment to 1,927 children, from birth to five and their families, officials said.

The Matrix Head Start program offers services year-round with center locations in Detroit.

“The most important lifelong gift we can give to our children is to provide the support their parents need to move out of poverty. What differentiates Matrix Head Start and all Matrix programs is our Transition to Success platform designed to coordinate all services across our community to improve health and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for children and their families,” said Dr. Marcella Wilson, president and CEO of Matrix Human Services.

Matrix’s “Transition to Success” program coordinates care for basic needs, literacy, education including GED and higher education for parents, financial literacy and volunteerism.

The Head Start grant also supports individualized instruction, multicultural environment, bilingual classrooms, services to children with special needs and events that connect families to resources including food, education and health services throughout the community.

Last week, a collaborative led by Starfish Family Services was awarded $60 million in Head Start funds over the next five years to serve nearly 1,000 children and families in Detroit annually.

The partnership is with Development Centers, Inc.; Focus: HOPE; and Southwest Solutions. A fifth organization, HighScope Educational Research Foundation, will provide curriculum, professional development, and evaluation support.

The national Birth to Five pilot program award funding is the first of its kind in Michigan, with Detroit chosen as one of only five cities in the U.S. to participate in this initiative.

“This is an exciting time for kids and families in Detroit,” said Starfish CEO Ann Kalass. “Together with our partners...we will offer impactful Early Head Start and Head Start services while engaging families and kids in a range of other support including parent education, workforce development, housing, and mental health services.”

JChambers@detroitnews.com