OCAP members gather, set plans for new year

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, September 22, 2011

OCAP Incorporated Head Start hosted a combination meet-and-greet and training event for Roberts Rules of Order Thursday morning at OCAP in Troy.

Harriet McFarland, Head Start director, said the event was an opportunity for the new policy council members to meet each other before they elect officers. It was also a chance for them to meet governmental and civic representatives who attended the event.

Pike County Commissioner Homer Wright attended the meet- and-greet and presented McFarland a check in the amount of $300. McFarland expressed appreciation to Wright for his interest and support of the Head Start program.

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“Fifty-one percent of the policy council is made up of parents who currently have children enrolled in Head Start,” McFarland said. “We have 12 Head Start centers in eight counties, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dale, Monroe and Pike and we have a representative on the policy council from each of the centers.”

The representatives from the Pike County Head Start centers are Tobiah Jones, Brundidge, and Katie Smith-Johnson, Troy.

The remaining members of the policy council are either from government and civic agencies, retired teachers or members of the business community.

The purpose of the policy council is to keep abreast of the policies and procedures related to the Head Start program and to develop a budget within the guidelines for eligibility for grant funding.

“The policy council also votes on the hiring of staff members once the necessary information has been gathered and a background check is completed,” McFarland said.

Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Launched in 1965, Head Start was originally conceived as a catch-up summer school program that would teach low-income children in a few weeks what they needed to know to start kindergarten. Experience showed that six weeks of preschool couldn’t make up for five years of poverty. The Head Start Act of 1981 expanded the program.

Head Start is one of the longest-running programs to address systemic poverty in the United States.