Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is pleased to announce, in conjunction with HRA of New Britain Inc., that the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Head Start Bureau has awarded HRA a grant contract to assume the management of the Bristol Head Start program. The program has been under temporary management of CDI, Inc. for the past two years.

“Early childhood development plays a critical role in children’s academic success” said Congresswoman Hayes. “Federal funding for local Head Start programs provides an essential investment for student learning.”

Board President Cathy Baratta said, “The Bristol program will be a wonderful complement to the New Britain Head Start program, which HRA has managed for many years. Using its years of experience, HRA can ensure that quality children’s programming in Bristol will continue and grow.”

HRA Early Childhood Education Director Amy Griswold said, “The Bristol program under HRA will respond to a community need not currently being met. We have added full-day, full-year, center-based services for children ages 0-5. We are expanding the program options to include a home-based model, and introducing Early Head Start services. More importantly, it is truly exciting to have this opportunity to work with expectant parents. Head Start is all about meeting the needs of the entire family, and so we designed this model with this factor in mind.”

In addition to increasing the hours preschool classrooms serving 72 children, HRA’s infant/toddler component is designed to serve 40 children in a mix of classroom and home-based models.  The program changes from a school year/school day schedule to a full year/full day schedule will accommodate working parents.

HRA Director of Planning and Programs, Marlo Greponne added, “Our model for low-income families will establish a comprehensive service approach for the most vulnerable families and their children ages 0-5, through high quality services that will set them off on a journey to success. It’s so important for the whole family to be engaged in a child’s development.” 

Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu wrote in support of the agency’s initial application, stating, “HRA’s knowledgeable staff and strong community collaborations with other service providers will play a significant role in the program’s success.”

CDI and HRA will begin to plan for the conversion during the summer months, and a hand-off is scheduled for September 1. Infant toddler instruction is not scheduled to start until January 1, 2021


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Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public-school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.