Head Start Community & Parent Involvement

Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Head Start is the most successful, longest-running, national school readiness program in the United States. It provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Nearly 25 million pre-school aged children have benefited from Head Start since its creation in 1965. Through the Head Start program SCAP engages parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Head Start families are able to receive in-house counseling. This form of intervention may be initiated by teachers for behavioral matters and is essential to ensure school readiness.

Child Health & Development

Somerset Community Action Program has partnered with United Way, Colgate, Johnson and Johnson, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Student Association, St. Peter's nurses, and local doctors and dentists to ensure every child is up-to-date with all health requirements. With the help of local initiatives the Child Development program and Health Services provide early examinations to children with the goal of school readiness in mind.

All children participating in the program receive age appropriate child health screenings within the first 45 days of entry into the program. Staff and volunteers conduct Health screenings and follow-ups are provided for children that need additional services. Screenings provided are as follows:

  • Height and Weight
  • Blood Pressure
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Hemoglobin
  • Dental
  • Lead
  • Others as required

Children with Disabilities

Somerset Community Action Program annually seeks children 3-5 years of age who have been identified as a pre-school child with a disability and have obtained acertified IEP from their local education agency. Our program offers a half-day alternative for students attending services in the public schools. These children are given the advantage of attending half-day at the public schools and half-day at our inclusive program. The program will help arrange transportation for these students.

Our organization aims to educate parents, healthcare providers, early childhood educators, and other professionals to ensure early detection of a disability, so that we have the best developmental outcomes for every child. Children in this age group who exhibit developmental delays in language, cognition, adaptive, motor, social and/or emotional development, may be eligible for services in the public schools as a preschool disabled child and as an agency we will help you through the steps to have your child evaluated. Parents who have concerns regarding their child's development should contact us for further discussion.

If you suspect that your child has a disabling condition or would like further information, please contact Amy Macauley, the Special Education coordinator, via email at amacauley@somersetcap.org or the Belmont location (732) 302-0700.

Food & Nutrition Program

Children receive breakfast, lunch, and snacks that are prepared in a commercial kitchen on site. All menus and meals are developed by a registered dietician and are intended to reflect the diversity and culture of the children served by the program. Parents are encouraged to provide feedback on menu selections in order to make improvements. Additionally, nutritional education is provided for parents and children to bring these benefits into their homes. With the rise of childhood obesity the program continues to look for partners within the Central Jersey corporate community to assist the program with addressing the concern of national significance.

For more information please contact Karen Hotze, Health and Nutrition Manager, via email khotze@somersetcap.org or at the Belmont location (732)-302-0700

Transportation

Transportation is available for children to and from the Head Start program in Belmont, however school bus service is provided in a limited area. Families are screened for their need for transportation, due to the cost of providing this service to all families. Decisions are made on a need basis. All drivers meet the requirement of the National Transportation Administration and other state and local requirements.

For more information please contact Sandra Espinal, Executive Program Assistant, via email sespinal@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton location (732)-846-8888

Priority Enrollment

Priority enrollment is offered to children meeting the following criteria:

  • Special Needs Children
  • DYFS
  • Children from Homeless Families
  • Children in Foster Care
  • Work First New Jersey Families (WFNJ)

For more information please contact Diana Obst, Social Worker, via email dobst@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton location (732)-846-8888

Fee-Paying Child Development Program

Families that do not qualify for the Head Start income guidelines can enroll in a fee-paying program. Families receive quality, affordable full-day care for children 3 months to 5 years of age using the High Scope Curriculum. The infant/toddler and pre-school programs operate from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. No additional cost is charged for food and activities in which children participate. The infant/toddler and preschool programs are income eligible programs that are partly funded by Somerset County Department of Human Services and the State of New Jersey Department of Family Development. The fee-paying program charges are below market rate for families up to 200% above the federal poverty guidelines. Families should expect to pay a non-refundable registration fee of 45 dollars. Our daycare is for ages 3 to 5 and has a weekly fee of 100 dollars. The infant/toddler program is for the ages of 3 months to 3 years and has a weekly fee of 145 dollars. Before and after school care for elementary school students is also available to families and has a 45 dollar weekly fee, as well as the 45 dollar registration fee. Before and after school care operates between the hours of 7:30 to 9:00 AM and 2:30 to 6:00 PM daily for kindergarten to elementary school aged children. These programs accept vouchers from payment agencies like Catholic charities, DYFS, Northwest CAP, NJ Family Care, Programs for Parents, etc.

For more information please contact Dionne Germain by email dgermain@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton location by calling (732)-846-8888

Community Services Program

Somerset Community Action Program is a private non-profit organization, which has provided service in Central Jersey for nearly 45 years. The program was one of the first Community Action Agencies authorized in response to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society Programs. SCAP provides assistance to families in managing social services in the Somerset community to enhance quality of life. Programs offered include family and job counseling, computer literacy, employment training, parenting workshops, and language development. SCAP also offers a variety of services that empower community residents in Somerset, New Jersey, using Result Based Management and Accountability (ROMA) principles. Eligibility and participation in these programs are based upon incomes that are up to 200% above the federal poverty guidelines http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/08fedreg.htm. Guidelines are updated annually by the federal government to keep pace with inflation. Programs available directly or through partnerships are based upon community needs and may change but include the following:

  • Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention & Services
  • Homeless Prevention
  • Affordable Housing
  • Youth Development
  • Financial Literacy
  • Adult Basic Skills
  • GED preparation
  • Job skill preparation
  • Basic computer literacy
  • New Jersey Shares
  • Entrepreneurial Training Program
  • Driver License Restoration
  • On the Job Early Education Training
  • Emergency Food Vouchers
  • SAT Prep/Mentoring Services
  • Microloan Program

For more information please contact Aliya Anderson, the Community Services Coordinator, via email at aanderson@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton Street location (732)-846-8888

English as a Second Language (ESL)

For our diverse non-English speaking community, we offer opportunities to develop language skills to help parents and community members become more self-sufficient.

For more information please contact Aliya Anderson, the Community Services Coordinator, via email at aanderson@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton Street location (732)-846-8888

Weatherization

Is your house cold in the winter? Are your heating bills too high? Do you live on a fixed income? You may be eligible for free weatherization assistance from NJ's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for low-income families. Especially if you are elderly or disabled, and your house, trailer, or apartment could receive free energy conservation and efficiency work such as high-density sidewall insulation, attic and/or floor insulation, pipe insulation, heater replacement, and water heater insulation. The WAP is funded by NJ Dept. of Community Affairs and US Dept. of Energy.

For more information about the SCAP weatherization program please contact Alicia Carman, Weatherization Manager, via email at acarman@somersetcap.org or call (732)-846-8888

Counseling Services & Referrals

The agency makes available to all of its clients mental health counseling with trained mental health counselors or through partnerships with Family and Community Services of Somerset County. Counselors provide individual or groups counseling as needed. In keeping with our mission to increase self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life in Somerset County, we have referred many Head Start parents and community members to a variety of social services which include housing, jobs, child care subsidies, family counseling, NJ Family Care, legal services, and more.

For more information please contact Aliya Anderson, the Community Services Coordinator, via email at aanderson@somersetcap.org or at the Hamilton Street location (732)-846-8888