Mich. home visit grants to aid 600 families

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

About 600 Michigan families will receive home visits to get their young children ready for school through grants to Great Start Collaboratives in 15 counties, the Michigan Department of Education said Wednesday.

The department’s Office of Great Start announced the awards, which include funding for programs in Oakland, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.

“To ensure becoming a Top 10 education state in 10 years, special emphasis must be placed on the entire P-20 continuum of learners,” state school Superintendent Brian Whiston said in a statement. “Our plan notes the importance of programs that support parents prenatally up to an age in which there is more access to high quality preschool programming. Home visitation programs are a proven strategy to reach parents early, and offer them support in these critical stages of child development.”

Home visitation programs serve at-risk and high-need families to ensure that children have safe, nurturing environments.

The Michigan legislature appropriated $2.5 million to support families through children’s entry into kindergarten and to improve third-grade reading proficiency through early language development and positive adult-child interaction. State officials hope to reduce the number of children who repeat grade levels and the number of students who need special education services.

The grants, to be funneled through local intermediate school districts, are being awarded to the following Great Start Collaboratives: Bay-Arenac, Calhoun, Delta-Schoolcraft, Eastern Upper Peninsula, Ingham, Kent, Livingston, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, St. Clair, Saginaw, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee.

SLewis@detroitnews.com

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