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Community Assessment and

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Head Start Children

Community Assessment And Update


• The Parent Community Survey was distributed to all families enrolled in the programs. Approximately 178 surveys were distributed between the two center base locations with 98 being returned, or 55%

. • 39 families indicated a need for the Early Head Start program, with interest in both center base and home base options.

• Overall most families reported that their medical and dental needs were being met, with most using a family doctor. All children have a medical home, however some parents reported that they do not have medical or dental coverage.

• Parents report that they find out about community services from family and friends as well as service providers.

• Meal planning for families is mainly from access to the internet, family/friends, cook books. Families report that when planning meals they usually make what the family will eat, with some indicating that they think about what is healthy for their families.

• Many families responded that they felt the community is respectful of all cultures, however there were a few that reported this to not be true.

• Problems faced by our families include transportation, parking, and housing

• The highest ratings on the survey were in the areas of child care, schools, community information and Head Start

. • 3 families indicated that dental services were poor

• Comments included a desire for more information about marriage education, and Parenting tips for toddlers.


• 44 surveys were distributed, with 28 returned, or 66%

• All families reported that they had a need for EHS services, and are interested in both home base and center base options

• Families reported that they find out about community services from friends/family and Head Start

• When medical attention is needed, 12 families reported that they use a family doctor, and 18 families reported that they use a medical clinic, and 11 emergency room care

• 96% overall report that the community meets their medical needs, with 90% meeting dental needs

• There are many undocumented parents who do not qualify for health insurance

• Meal planning and cooking information comes from family, friends, internet, HS and WIC. When planning a meal, families report that they usually think about what is healthy and make what the family will eat.

• Problems in the community: public transportation, affordable housing and language discrimination

• 86% of families report that they feel the community is respectful of all cultures, with 14% reporting that their community is not respectful of their culture.

• 100% of families reported that Head Start provides excellent educational services

• The highest ratings were in the areas of schools and medical services.

• Poor responses were in the areas of counseling/mental health, adult education and religious organizations.

2015-2016 PROGRAM YEAR

The Children’s Community Head Start Birth to Five Program conducts an annual parent survey that encompasses feedback from all program options, Center Base and Home Base and utilizes two different surveys.  New for the 2015-2016 School year, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) survey along with our program designed Family Services Survey with focus on Community Resources were distributed to families in all locations.    The NAEYC Family Survey resulted  in the return of 63/72 enrolled in the Ronkonkoma location or 87%, and 50/75 enrolled in the Port Jefferson Center or 67%. 

The following are the NAEYC summarized results from the center base locations:

• Overall parents reported that they were pleased with the teaching staff and that the program makes many accommodations for children and families

• In the area of relationships, a small response from parents indicated that they did not feel that the classroom staff ask about family background or beliefs

• In the area of curriculum, all parents unanimously answered yes to all curriculum related questions in this section

• In the area of teaching, 95% responded that they regularly have opportunities to participate in the program/classroom

• In the area of assessment, most parents indicated that they were informed about the child assessment process, but some did not know what the instruments were, procedures for assessment or how we track children’s progress in the program. (only 2 families answered this question with a “No”.

• In the Health Area, all parents answered unanimously on all health related questions

. • In the area of Family, families responded that the program regularly asks for input about their child both verbally and informally, but some families felt that they were not encouraged to take on leadership roles in the program

• In the area of Community Relationships, there were only three questions asked in the NAEYC survey and all parents answered yes to questions in this area

• Under Leadership and Management the majority of the families answered yes to all questions, but some indicated that they were not familiar with the programs procedure for dropping off and picking up, or that program staff use this time to communicate to them about their child, or that they were included in yearly program evaluations or that they feel like that have a voice for program improvement.

Positive Comments:

✔ “I feel supported and staff is very engaging”

✔ “Excellent program”

✔ “Administration works perfectly and teachers are very professional”

✔ “My child has great teachers”

✔ “I like the program a lot”


The B-5 Head Start Program distributed the Family services Survey to all center base and home base families in Ronkonkoma and Port Jefferson areas. This survey focuses on community resources and services and how parents utilized resources in their community. 225 surveys were distributed and 45 were returned, approximately 20%. We feel the reason behind the poor return was due to the close proximity of distribution with the NAEYC survey. Going forward next program year, the NAEYC survey will be distributed earlier in the year.

The summary of the responses is as follows:

► Most families responded that they find out about community services from family and friends

► Most families have a medical home and use their own doctor for medical concerns, some responded that they use a clinic and some the emergency room

► There was a strong response from home base and center base families in that they have a need for EHS center base option

► Approximately 23% of the adults in the home do not have dental coverage

► All enrolled children have medical and dental homes

► There are undocumented families that do not have health insurance

► Meal planning and cooking information comes from family and friends, as well as internet, HS information, WIC

► Families report that when planning a meal, they usually think about what is healthy and make what the family will eat

► The highest rating was in the area of childcare, schools, parent information, medical and dental services

► The lowest ratings were in the area of dental services (adults), job training, police and public transportation

Community Programs Center of Long Island, Inc. August 2015

Highlights and Program Implications

Following is a summary of some of the findings in this 2015 Community Assessment and their implications for future program planning:

• Even post recession, Long Island families are still struggling and experiencing unprecedented poverty, homelessness and foreclosures, unemployment, and high demand for food stamps, emergency housing and Medicaid. Public assistance cases/ recipients, students qualifying for free/reduced lunch and child poverty figures have increased from 2013 to 2015, while many services have decreased. Suffolk’s high cost of living makes federal poverty guidelines unrealistic.

• The Hispanic/Latino population continues to grow dramatically in the county and in the Head Start/Early Head Start program reflecting the need for continuing bilingual, bicultural programming efforts and increased access to programs for English Language Learners (ELLs). Of the 225 Head Start children served in 2014-2015, 57% were Hispanic/Latino (compared to 50.4 in 2011-2012)

• Immigrant families continue to report experiencing discrimination in their local communities. Hate crime incidents are increasing in Suffolk: up 48.1% between 2007 and 2012. The number jumped 200% in just one year from 2011 to 2012.

• Hunger remains a serious problem. From 2010 to 2014 there was an increase in Suffolk children and youth receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits, the rate increased from 10.3, to 13.5 an increase from 36,937 to 46,710. The SNAP caseload increased 120% from 2009 to 2014.

• Suffolk’s paucity of affordable housing and severe housing cost burdens for the poor and near poor have exacerbated an already serious homelessness problem, with homelessness increasing 25% from 2007-2013. Severe housing cost burden—payment of more than 50% of a household’s gross income—rose 6% in Suffolk but fell 3.6% in Nassau between 2007 and 2012.Foreclosures in Suffolk County remain higher than the national average.

• The struggles of working poor and immigrant families to find quality, affordable child care are formidable, as are the struggles of families with pre-school children who have special developmental or physical needs. The number of child care providers in the service area with DSS contracts continues to decrease, and the cap on subsidies for child care for poor families at 165% of the federal poverty level leaves many families unable to afford and unable to find quality, safe child care.

• In the wake of continuing increases in obesity rates among young children in Suffolk County, CPC’s efforts to address the growing problem of childhood obesity have had a documented positive effect in moving children to healthier weights.

• Pediatric asthma rates in Suffolk County are climbing: up 8.4% from 2005–2007. The 2009–2011 average pediatric asthma rate was 19.3 per 10,000 population ages 0–17.

• Suffolk is experiencing a crisis in drug abuse use, sale and possession, with arrests up 15.6% between 2008-2012, Drug abuse hospitalizations in Suffolk are higher than in the rest of the state. Poor communities of color are particularly hard hit by this epidemic.

• Children’s Community Head Start consistently maintains a waiting list for enrollment in the program. In July, 2015, there are 169 families on the waiting list, demonstrating the need for more Head Start and Early Head Start slots. This number includes 86 preschooler s applying for a center-based program, 61 infants and toddlers applying for a center-based program, and 29 families interested in a home based program.

• There is also a waiting list for expanded before-and after program hours, with after hours care especially popular. The extended care for HSEHS families has been full since October 2014

. • Parents continue to be enthusiastic about the Head Start program and the progress they see in their children. They expressed great appreciation for teachers, family advocates and home visitors.

The full report can be obtained by contacting Elizabeth A. Geary, Director of CPC,
at (631) 585-2020.

2210 Smithtown Avenue, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
(631) 585-2020

400 Sheep Pasture Road, Port Jefferson, NY 11777
(631) 476-9698