Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc.

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                   Annual Report of the

        Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc

                March 2015-February 2016

FROM THE CEO

As we had expected, Fiscal Year 15-16 (March 2015 through February 2016) was a busy year. We learned in March of 2015 that our week long February 2015 Head Start/Early Head Start Environmental Health and Safety Review which encompassed all areas of all of our facilities, produced no findings – which was excellent news.

After much effort, we finally closed on the City Church property in late February 2015. The goal was to have a central office that is clean, neat and safe and to be able to move our classrooms from Boykin Center to improve child safety. Staff had been pre-planning; they went into high gear right after the closing. There were things to be done to prepare the building to meet health and safety standards for Head Start, the Fire Marshall and the Department of Human Resources (DHR), as well as to make the move itself.

Of course, on the Glenn Avenue/Boykin side, there was sorting/cleaning to do -- files and materials no longer needed were purged and as appropriate, shredded or stored in the off-site storage area. New office space had to be laid out on graph paper to assure that when furnishings were moved in they fit properly. Wired and wireless connections had to be added throughout the new facility for computer connectivity (now essential for work functions in all areas). The phone and Internet connections located at the Glenn Avenue building had to be moved to the new facility (short sentence – major effort!) The kitchen, which had served to heat food for a church, had to be enlarged and made Health-Department approvable to serve about 140 children and classroom staff a day (this is still not complete, so we are continuing to transport food from the Darden kitchen in Health-Department approved Cambro containers.) The new Head Start classrooms required some new furnishings to fit properly within the rooms and computers were needed for children and teachers, so those were ordered and placed. What a lot of work -- and what a pleasure it has been work there once we moved in during late summer/early fall of 2015.

While our new building on Shelton Mill Road retains the Gomillion/Valder name that was on the building at 319 W. Glenn, the Head Start Center, also at 950 Shelton Mill Road, is named Frankie B. King Center after the late Frankie Brundage King, a beloved ACHR staff member for many years. She asked ACHR to create a GED program, and in 1965, at the beginning of Head Start in this country and in Lee County, she enrolled some of her children in ACHR’s new Head Start program and pursued her educational dreams, attaining a GED, then a BA and finally an MA. Her contributions included surveying and documenting rural housing needs in all 67 Alabama counties, supervision of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and a Teaching Teachers to Teach (TTT) program, the coordination of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) programs and Family Services Programs including working with Head Start parents. Today, her son, Tim King, continues her legacy as ACHR’s Programs Coordinator while also providing leadership for Head Start’s Family Services Department and Fatherhood initiatives and in ACHR’s housing complexes developed through AHFA for residents with low income.

This was a technology-intensive year. As part of the improvements related to the move, much time was spent researching, selecting, and setting up the computers for the classrooms in the new center. Fortunately, we were able to find quality refurbished computers through TechSoup, a non- profit that assists other non-profits with affordable technology. During child hours, Head Start children play learning games on the computer. After the children leave, the classroom staff use the computers to log in the required Child Observation Record data, do the required DECA (behavior screening), time sheets and so on. Until we added the computers in each classroom, classroom staff had had to share computers in the “training” room, which caused frustration, unneeded stress and delay in meeting requirements. Predictably, after the success of the computers in the classrooms at King Center, Educators rapidly realized that classroom staff at the other two centers needed the same. At one center, 11 teachers shared four computers. By December, we had found and set-up additional quality refurbished computers for every Head Start classroom in the other two centers and added Internet connections in the classroom areas so the staff could access the various assessment programs, which are on an off-site servers.

Sometimes, we have had to push and struggle to find enough in-kind for a fiscal year. During FY 15-16 staff placed great importance on School Readiness and on Family Partnerships. As a result, we had more parents participating in RAGS (Reading, Activities and Growth for Success) and participating more often. That meant more parent volunteer time toward in-kind. Of greater importance, it meant that more parents were doing activities with their children that will enhance the child's abilities - which should mean stronger families and improved school readiness. Additionally, we are proud to say that we have good community partners who provide a variety of goods and services.

Governance was a big portion of the year. During this year, staff from the state Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) office reviewed ACHR actions as compared to the new Community Action Partnership Organizational Standards. Staff worked to gather the documentation required for the 54 items, and assure that it was present and current. Staff also created a shared governance calendar for the ACHR Board and the Community Action Partnership of Lee County (CAP-LC) to assure that staff review and revise all required items and present them to the board for review in a timely manner.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new guidance on Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, which, because it replaced many regulations, was dubbed the “Super Circular.” It went into effect for all federal awards awarded on or after December 26, 2014, which meant for ACHR it went into effect at various points in 2015. By early 2015 there was more information on this rather large document. The Fiscal Coordinator, Administrative Coordinator and CEO went on retreat in early March to review the Super Circular and related documents and accordingly review, mark and begin revisions to the ACHR Policy and Procedure Manual as well as both the Purchasing and Fiscal Procedure sections. The revised ACHR Policy and Procedure Manual was reviewed by lawyers and then passed by the ACHR Board, as were the completed revisions to the Fiscal and Purchasing Procedure sections of the procedure manuals. The P&P was printed and distributed to staff at the training meetings in August.

Technology was also a big item in the year. In addition to the new classroom computers mentioned above, staff began work on planning the changes/decisions due to Microsoft giving a window of time to receive W10 free. In the end, though staff likes Windows 7 as an operating system, because of security concerns the decision was to up-grade all computers to W10 by Microsoft’s deadline. The transition is still in process and must be completed by July 2016). Microsoft will support the W10 operating system until October 14, 2025. The next decision point is the up-grade from Office 2007 to Office 2013 or 2016.

Key Early/Head Start staff met in June to plan the calendar going forward as well as to review changes needed in documentation. They accomplished several key items including review/revision of the criminal background check process, implementation of a single point of contact for new personnel and required forms, and a plan to shift documentation of in-kind for Early/Head Start from a spreadsheet system to primarily ChildPlus (our E/HS child/family data system).

Eleven ACHR staff and three staff from Kentucky attended the annual two-day SEACAA graduate certification training in early December 2015. The topic was "Strengths-Based Leadership." The workshop helped our staff determine and learn to build on his/her strengths, and to realize that each has different strengths and we are stronger as a staff if we try to allow each staff member to focus on work within their area of strength (not always possible, but certainly something to be considered). The training usually is held in Ft. Walton, Florida, but this year was held in the "Rainy Day Room" at King Center. Our trainer was very complementary of the new facility and of how well a trainer can use that room for training in various modes.

All ACHR staff attending the management meeting reviewed and revised ACHR's Risk Management Plan to be sent to the board for approval. Staff did part of this work during late afternoons Monday and Tuesday so we could involve our whole group. In addition, our outside trainer who helped us create the original plan sat in. He was complementary of our current process. However, he said that we should completely revisit this plan about every two years - so one more thing for the agenda for December 2017.

Seven ACHR staff spent the next three days doing review/planning activities. They revised some procedures and related forms to better meet standards and match how we are doing activities. Reviewed/revised, and in some cases completed were sections on fringe, payroll and fiscal operations, employee leave, travel, and in-kind. A staff member began review and revision of the Home Visiting Procedures, family services staff reviewed/revised Section 16 (family services) and nutrition procedures were reviewed/revised; proposed changes need to be reviewed to complete those procedures.

In addition, staff reviewed and revised ACHR’s Strategic Plan for board approval. The biggest accomplishments were those related to the new building. This included playground improvements, because of course with the new center, came improved playgrounds. Goals met!

MISSION STATEMENT

The Alabama Council on Human Relations (ACHR), Inc., is a private non-profit organization funded exclusively for educational and eleemosynary (charitable) purposes. The goal of ACHR is the promotion and implementation of programs that improve economic conditions, education, and racial relationships for all people, resulting in increased self-sufficiency and overall improvement in their quality of life.

AGENCY DESCRIPTION

ACHR, incorporated in 1954, has provided Head Start (HS) services in Lee County since 1965 and in much of Russell County since 1992. Early Head Start is also provided in both counties. In addition to HS and EHS, in FY 2013-14 ACHR administered other programs, including the Alabama Coalition Against Hunger (ACAH), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (serving daycare homes), housing counseling, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), and LIHEAP (Low Income Heating Assistance Program), which offers energy counseling and assistance with payment of energy bills. ACHR also offers low-income housing at its 11 housing complexes in eight counties, and is a Community Housing Development Organization certified in 31 of Alabama’s 67 counties. ACHR is Lee County’s designated Community Services Block Grant program provider.

ACHR’s Early Head Start (EHS) program, which started in 1998, is an essential part of the agency’s overall program. It is widely recognized that the years from conception to age three are vital to growth and development. EHS families are provided ways to enrich their child’s development and to ensure a support system for both the child and primary caregiver.

ACHR has three centers offering services to children, two in Lee County and one in rural Russell County. Darden Center in Opelika is the largest center, with 11 HS classrooms and five EHS classrooms, as well as a school-aged class serving 15-18 school- aged children (mostly siblings of HS/EHS children or former HS children) who come to the center for after school and summer care.

The Darden campus includes Darden on the Hill, which houses the Sunshine Shop (where donated goods are accepted, stored and displayed for convenient, easy access by HS/EHS families) and office space for EHS home visitors and a socialization area for the 40 home-based infants, toddlers and pregnant women/teens served by the home visitors in Lee Country. There is also an emergency services building which provides space for the intake for the energy assistance program and for weatherization.

The Frankie B. King Center King Center houses the ACHR Main Office which provides space for administrative, fiscal, secretarial, and other agency support functions and the Auburn Head Start Classrooms. ACHR has eight HS classrooms there, as well as energy assistance services and weatherization offices. The Marian Wright Edelman Center, located in Hurtsboro in rural Russell County, houses four HS and three EHS classrooms, as well as offices and socialization space for home visitors for 48 EHS infants, children and/or pregnant women.

In addition to these centers, there are some auxiliary facilities, such as a garage to service agency buses and other vehicles.

NUMBERS FUNDED/SERVED

The ACHR-CDP was funded to serve 424 HS and 152 EHS children in 2015-16. At any given time, the Head Start program served 424 HS children (ages 3-5 years); EHS center-based classrooms served 64 infants and toddlers (ages 4 weeks to three years) who were the children of parents working or in school and another 88 children and/or mothers-to-be were served in a home-based setting. Home Visitors visited each home-based parent and child once a week and, together with the parent, provided the full array of EHS or HS services. In addition, mothers of children who are home visited were invited into the center once every two weeks for a “socialization” visit. The moms had small group meetings and learned from each other; the children began to learn to play with other children. Transportation to these events was offered to those who needed it.

During 2015-16, due to the normal drops and adds, HS served 479 preschoolers in 445 families. Twenty-two of the children were in the program fewer than 45 days and some others not much beyond that. In spite of our best efforts, attendance was right at 86%. Children cannot learn when they are not present, so we will continue to focus this coming year on encouraging parents to send their children regularly. Approximately 82% of the need was served in rural Russell County and approximately 80% of the need was served in Lee County.

During the same period, EHS served 25 pregnant women and 172 infants and toddlers in 143 families. Only 1 infant/toddler was in the program fewer than 45 days. Attendance was right at 80%. Unfortunately, when children are first in the center they tend to "catch" whatever is going around, and we strongly discourage parents from bringing children who are ill to the center. This is approximately 60% of the need in rural Russell County but only about 40% of the need in Lee County.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Medical/Dental

During the last school year all of the children who were enrolled more than 45 days received medical screenings and, if needed, follow-up; 91% of the children (including those enrolled fewer than 45 days) were up-to date on receiving age-appropriate preventive care at the end of the year; 463 HS-aged children (96% of all those enrolled at any time) and some of the older EHS children received dental exams and preventative care. Last year, Dr. George Liles, a pediatric dentist in Auburn, again came to Darden, our largest center, to do dental exams and then, over a period of time at his office he provided treatment for the children who needed it. Most of the children truly love him. For several years, children at the smaller two centers have been provided dental services by two dentists in Tuskegee unless their parents prefer to take them to another dentist.

Staff successfully encouraged many HS parents to take their children for follow up appointments for dental treatment and some took their children for dental exams. Staff will continue in this effort, which more firmly establishes an ongoing “dental home” for the children. Because of the combined efforts of the dentists, the children’s parents and our staff, 100% of the children who needed dental treatment received it.

Preparing Children for School

For more than 35 years, the ACHR-CDP has used the HighScope Curriculum in its efforts to have children ready for school. This approach takes each child at his/her level and works to build knowledge using the child’s interests and strengths. All learning areas required by Office of Head Start, including Social Emotional Development, Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development, Approaches to Learning, Cognition, and Language and Literacy are embedded in children’s everyday activities. The curriculum approach is developmentally appropriate and is tailored for children ages birth through five years.

In addition to regular activities at the center, resource visitors come to classrooms to enrich children's experiences. Parents, professionals, and community helpers are among those who volunteer their time to make presentations and share experiences with the preschool children. Classroom staff members take children on field trips to visit businesses/community resources such as police and fire departments, museums, farms/stables and other sites around our area and Auburn University. It is amazing what pre-school children can learn from these visits and field trips and how much fun they can have in the process. Teachers talk, talk, talk with the children about the coming visit, during the visit, and after the visit to stretch children's knowledge and vocabulary.

We encourage parents to do much the same thing with their own children as part of our school readiness parent program called RAGS (Reading, Activities and Growth for Success). Teachers articulate what they will be focusing on in the classroom each week and send home RAGS activity sheets with suggestions of ways parents can help their child to grow in a particular focus. The activity sheets can help parents change a routine visit to the grocery store from an event that is frustrating for parent and child into a learning “adventure” that helps increase vocabulary, sentence length, ability to follow directions, or to increase math skills or self-regulation. The same child who was bored and crying can be enlisted to help find a can of green peas for dinner and the box with the big “K” on it for breakfast. Parents are asked to take a few moments during visits to stores to say things like: “The peas are in a can with a green label. Can you find it?” “Look one shelf higher.” And: “Good find! Please put it in the cart.” Of course, as a child gets better at this game, we encourage parents to make the skills progressively more challenging. (“Please put the can in the cart beside the corn and beans. Now we have three cans.”) Repeated over a period of time, these “adventures” make a difference in a child’s skills including those needed for school readiness.

Teachers make frequent observation of children and place them into each child’s Child Observation Record (COR) to track each child’s progress towards school readiness goals and to know when to help a child stretch for the next level. In addition, considerable attention is focused on social skills and self-regulation in an effort to have the children ready to fit into a kindergarten classroom. We are pleased to be partnering with the Psychological Services Department at Auburn University in this effort. They provide a variety of activities in the classrooms using an adaptation of the Stop and Think social skills curriculum. Additionally our educators have been training the teaching staff in the Conscious Discipline curriculum and its implementation. The program has provided staff new ways to improve classroom management and assist children in developing self-regulation and other skills that help them to be connected, cooperative, and helpful members of a classroom family.

In 2015-2016 we continued our partnership with the Lee County School System to provide services for children with special needs in typically developing classrooms. This year, because of continuing needs in the Lee County area, the number of cooperative classrooms remained at four classes in Smiths Station and one in Loachapoka. All services that the Lee County Schools and the ACHR-CDP provide their children were provided to the children in these five classrooms. This setting provided this group of children with access to the special services they needed while being in a preschool environment. We feel that it also broadened the horizons of the typically developing children who were in those classrooms.

ACHR-CDP SCHOOL READINESS REPORT for PROGRAM YEAR 2015-2016

ACHR CDP’s school readiness goals were developed using Office of Head Start (OHS) requirements, curriculum guidelines, alignments with state standards for four-year- olds/Alabama Early Learning Guidelines, local school expectations, and staff and parent input. School readiness goals are statements that articulate knowledge and skills needed by infants/toddlers prior to preschool and for preschool children prior to entering kindergarten. These goals address social and emotional development, language and literacy, perceptual, motor, and physical development, approaches to learning, and cognitive development including general knowledge, mathematics, and science.

At ACHR, progress towards school readiness goals is measured through the HighScope Child Observation Record (COR) known as the COR Advantage assessment tool, and through teacher logs, photographs, and data collection such as samples of children’s work.

The COR Advantage is a seamless birth-through-kindergarten assessment tool. Categories and items on the COR align with state standards, Common Core standards and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. Both Early Head Start and Head Start teachers use this tool. Because the tool is seamless, it allows for scoring all children, whether typically developing, with special needs, or exceptional.

Teaching staff and home visitors collect data on an ongoing basis to determine how well children are progressing across the required OHS five essential domains: perceptual, motor, and physical development, Social and Emotional Development, Approaches to Learning, Language and Literacy, and Cognition and General Knowledge. To the extent possible, teaching staff assess dual language learners in the child's home language across all domains by communicating with parents/translators, and assess the children's increasing proficiency in learning English.

Teaching staff/home visitors gather and monitor the continuous progress of each child through means such as anecdotal notes, skill logs, portfolios, writing and art samples, formal observations by other professionals, parental input through family contacts, service provider reports, photographs, videos, and Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) progress reports. Children show gains in the COR Advantage by moving to the next skill level of each objective. Possible scores for each objective are the same, ranging from 0-7.

Assessment data is used to develop lesson plans and activities for all children and individualized instruction and activities for each child. ACHR has set scoring goals for child outcomes for 1- year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds in EHS, and for 4-year-olds in HS, who are kindergarten- bound. The final gain is measured from the fall assessment baseline through the middle collection period to the spring benchmark.

Data is aggregated by program option and program level three times per year – approximately November, March, and June. For EHS, which runs full year, a fourth time period of data is collected and analyzed. At each point, the education leadership team studies the child outcome averages across domains for the total program to identify any school readiness areas where children are not progressing as expected. Next, the team looks at the distribution of scores to examine the variability of children's progress. Subgroups of children (e.g., grouped by age, gender, home language, IEP status) are compared for disparities so that if any exist the program can work to help these children in ways that may result in furthering their school readiness.

At the midpoint analysis, progress towards school readiness goals is assessed and reported to teaching staff, program administration, the school readiness advisory committee, parent policy council/parents and the ACHR board. Training time is used to assist teachers/home visitors in understanding their data and how they can maximize children’s progress moving forward. The school readiness committee meets to discuss the program’s progress towards school readiness goals and to advise the program on school readiness issues from many perspectives.

Education team members assist teaching teams in analyzing this classroom data using classroom level COR reports and other indicators. The teaching teams use the analysis to refine their planning process for each child and groups of children, and as a guide to set professional goals. COR reports are also used as part of the process for determining staff’s group and individual professional development needs.

After the last aggregation/analysis period is completed, the results for the program year are discussed by the school readiness advisory committee and shared with stakeholders. The ACHR education and administrative teams use the results to plan for continued program operations, possible program improvements, professional development needs, and possible purchases of resources to support specific school readiness goals for the upcoming program year.

School Readiness Results for Head Start 2015-2016

  • The average beginning COR score for all typically developing 4-5 yr old children was 3.22
  • The mid-point COR scores had moved up, indicating growth. Overall the ACHR score for 4-5 yr olds went from 3.22 to 3.93.
  • At the end point of the school year, the COR scores had moved up even more. The average score for all ACHR 4-yr old children was 4.79, indicating that, on average, HS children had exceeded ACHR’s school readiness goals.
  • Between September and May, ACHR 4-5 yr old children’s overall developmental score levels had increased 48.76%

As per HS philosophy, we take children from where they are and help them to move forward toward our school readiness goals. Our data show that we are doing that.

ACHR’s goal for children going on to kindergarten is an average of a 4.5. In 2015-2016 program year these children attained an average 4.79 or 104.4% of the goal.

Head Start School Readiness Achievement by COR Advantage Categories

Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language, Literacy and Communication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.

4-5 yr old children’s COR Advantage category scores indicated gains in all categories at each collection point.

HS exceeded its school readiness goal of 4.5 in all eight COR Advantage Categories including Approaches to learning, Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language/Literacy/Communication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, & Social Studies by achieving an average of 4.79 or 104.4% of goal.

Head Start School Readiness Achievement: Other Head Start Data Collected

Typically developing children going on to kindergarten knew an average of:

  • 20 uppercase letters
  • 18 lowercase letters
  • 15 Letter sounds
  • 14 different numerals
  • 8 shapes
  • 10 colors

Portfolios of children’s work samples and photos from across the year were completed and given to parents at the last parent-teacher conference.

Two developmental summary reports from ongoing assessment were created and shared with parents in HS. This included a mid-year and end- of-year report using COR Advantage information and software.

86% of children going on to kindergarten could write their first names. 42 % could write their last names and some simple words.

School Readiness Results for Early Head Start 2015-2016

The process used for gathering, analyzing, and using developmental growth data in EHS is the same as that used in HS. The COR Advantage is the primary tool for tracking ongoing infant- toddler growth and development. The principal goal is for children to be progressing steadily and to be ready to transition into preschool after turning three years old.

Children in EHS showed steady growth in 2015-2016. Below is a sample of the 3-year-old group and their progress during the periods of 2015-2016.

  • The average beginning COR score for all typically developing older toddlers was 2.12.
  • The mid-point COR scores had moved up, indicating growth. Overall the ACHR score went from 2.21 to 2.41. Then in the 3rd time period, scores moved up to 2.76.
  • At the end point of the school year, the COR scores had moved up even more. The average score for all ACHR older toddlers was 2.94.
  • Between July 2014 and July 2015, ACHR older toddlers overall developmental score levels had increased 38.7%.

ACHR’s goal for older toddlers who will go on to HS or preschool is an average of a 2.82. In 2015-2016 program year these children attained an average 2.94 or 104.2% of the goal.

Early Head Start School Readiness Achievement by COR Advantage Categories:

Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Language, Literacy and Communication, Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Studies.

The COR Advantage category scores for Older Toddlers indicated gains in all categories at each collection point.

EHS exceeded its goal of 2.82 in all eight learning areas for older toddlers including Approaches to Learning, Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development and Health, Science & Technology by 8%. We also exceeded this goal in all 34 COR items.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT ACTIVITIES

Parents are very important to us - and to their children's readiness for school. Parents elected by other parents to serve on the Policy Council give input to our program in many ways. During the 2015-2016 year, parents were invited to quarterly parent meetings, had at least four opportunities to visit with their child’s teacher during home and center visits, and were invited to meetings on special topics.

Staff makes a special effort to work with the fathers (or “father-figures” such as uncles, grandfathers, etc.). Most months we offer a Reading with Dads event. The children’s fathers or other special men in their lives are invited to the centers sometimes to have breakfast and always to learn something about child development or literacy and then read or do activities with their children in the classrooms. During 2015- 2016, 301 HS and/or EHS children’s fathers or father figures came to one or more special events at the centers. In addition to attending the special father activities, some came to other parent activities, such as the Family Fun Day.

ACHR PROGRAMS OTHER THAN E/HS

ACHR is Lee County’s designated Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) provider. CSBG funds assist, extend and strengthen a variety of programs and make it possible for the agency to provide services that otherwise could not be provided.

CSBG assists with funding for many programs, including housing counseling and the gardening projects mentioned below.

Through CSBG funds we were able to provide assistance to persons who had emergency needs. This included air conditioning or heating units for elderly persons who had none working and car repair for individuals needing their vehicle to get to work, but unable to afford the repair as well as emergency dental and medical care for which there was no other funding.

Two years ago, through CSBG funds, because of a 10% up-tick in self-reported obesity by clients completing our community assessment survey, we started a new program we named "LIFE" (Learning Information about Food and Exercise) to help participants living with low income improve their overall health and maintain or decrease their weight. Our Registered Dietician provides weigh-ins, individualized diet counseling, and a low-impact aerobic exercise program at Darden and King Centers. Some participants check-in by phone, others in person.

In addition to HS, EHS and CSBG, ACHR administers other programs designed to assist families living with low incomes in Lee County and, in some cases, in other areas of Alabama. These programs include:

  • Alabama Coalition Against Hunger (ACAH), with a current emphasis on community gardens in Lee and Russell Counties, with the Lee County project a collaboration with several churches and with youth involvement.
  • Child & Adult Care Food Program, which provides training and reimbursement for qualified meals to approximately 34 day care home providers serving approximately 250 children in four counties.
  • Housing Counseling (Department of Housing and Urban Development-certified Housing Counseling Agency) to residents with problems with mortgages, tenant/landlord relations, etc. and through Emergency Food and Shelter Funds can provide limited assistance to those who qualify;
  • Certified Community Housing Development Organization in 31 of Alabama’s 67 counties and has built 12 low-income housing complexes in eight counties. Shiloh in Opelika is being built, which will be the 13th complex, and another complex is being planned.
  • Weatherization - assesses and then contracts to weatherize homes (including mobile homes) for home owners who qualify;
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program participant; served 82 families with $97,000 returned to those families;
  • Energy counseling and assistance with energy bills through LIHEAP, and the Alabama Charitable Trust. In this fiscal year, 2,162 families received assistance through regular LIHEAP and another 771 though LIHEAP crisis.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION/FUNDING

Head Start/Early Head Start

The Alabama Council on Human Relations, Inc. received funding from Health and Human Services in the amount of $6,103,356 to fund its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. In addition, because Head Start/Early Head Start programs are required to have a 20% match, we must find “match” or “in-kind,” which can be goods or services donated that of benefit to the program within the community in the amount of $1,525,841.

The pie chart that follows shows the percentages of funds spent in key areas for the HS/EHS programs.

Funding for Other Programs

Funds in the amount of $465,407 were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide meals for children. CACFP serving family day care homes in four counties received $326,884 The City of Opelika provided $20,000 to assist with extended day/year care for children of working parents. In combination with funding through the state voucher program and parent fees on a sliding scale, the City of Opelika funding allowed us to provide before and/or after school and summer care for approximately 100 children of mothers who were working or in school.

Beyond that, we have LIHEAP funds of $1,423,314 (most of which provides heating and cooling assistance directly to clients), Alabama Charitable Trust Funds of $30,087 which were used to assistant clients who were not eligible for LIHEAP funding or who needed additional assistance, and CSBG funding of $370,884 (which supplements various programs as well as providing direct services). Also, we received funding from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program in the amount of $5,000 to assist clients with one-time rent/mortgage payments. Last year, we received $5,584 in General Funds from the State of Alabama and weatherization funds of $120,250 received this year.

At this writing, we expect our budget and expenditure in all grant areas for the coming year to be similar to that in the past year.

AUDIT RESULTS

The independent audit done by an outside Certified Public Accountant on ACHR programs for the 2015-16 year resulted in no audit findings. In addition, various programs including Community Services Block Grant, Child and Adult Care Feeding Program, LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program), and Weatherization were audited during this year and although there were a few things to respond to, there were no significant findings.

DONORS AND BENEFACTORS (In-Kind)

In addition to grant funding, federal requirements state that HS/EHS programs must match the federal grant funds on an 80-20 basis. That means that “in-kind” (donations of time, goods and funds) is essential to the continuation of the federal funding that allows ACHR to provide Head Start/Early Head Start services. During the past year, many generous individuals and companies have donated goods (everything from toys to dryers) that have helpedthe program in various ways.

Just as important is the value of the help provided by our many volunteers. Last year, more than 800 volunteers contributed their time.

We are appreciative of the help provided by every volunteer. And, we are very appreciative of volunteer groups and the services they have provided to our children, families and our program. These groups included: Auburn University psychological services students (developmental screenings and social skills activities in the classrooms), Focus First (vision screening), nursing students (classroom education about health/nutrition/dental/safety), members of the local Kiwanis Clubs (in centers three times during the year to read the books children had chosen to them and then gave a copy to the child to become their very own book!), and Auburn University cheerleaders (pep rally in one center). Many individual volunteers came to assist in other ways including helping us organize the Sunshine Shop, which provided donated goods at no cost to Head Start/Early Head Start families. Families who have emergencies, such as those recovering from fires or storm damage, also sometimes receive goods.

We cannot name them all, but do want to offer our sincere thanks to the many, many volunteers who have given of their time and talents this year to help our children, their families and our program. It is no exaggeration to say that without their help, not only would our program not be the quality it is, we would not have a program.




Send questions or comments about this web site to  janet.burns@achr.com Last modified: 09/25/17