New Early Head Start Facility opens in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Dignitaries, children, and staff gathered on March 27, 2012 to celebrate the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Early Head Start facility in Estate Concordia, Queen Quarter, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. The project, made possible through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) grant funds, was awarded to Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands, Inc. for the expansion of the Queen Louise Home for Children Early Head Start program.

The new Concordia facility will officially open on April 16, 2012, increasing Early Head Start services by 48 children in four classrooms. Queen Louise Home for Children program will now serve 120 children in total, 24 of which will receive home-based services.

USVI First Lady Cecile DeJonghFirst Lady Cecile de Jongh and Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch delivered remarks about the facility’s Grand Opening, crediting the expansion as a major achievement.  In honor of partner agencies that support early childhood education services, First Lady Cecile de Jongh gave recognition to the coordinated efforts of the Frederiksted Health Clinic, VI Perinatal, and the Departments of Health, Human Services, and Education. Commissioner Finch underscored the critical role that parents and families play in engaging children’s learning. Also in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony were Robin Clarke, Director of Early Head Start; Junia John-Straker, Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Social Services; Maureen Moorhead, Early Head Start Policy Council and Head Start Governing Board; and Melanee Farrah, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start.

Expansion of the Concordia Early Head Start program marks the agency’s efforts to move forward with the Governor’s early childhood education agenda by promoting standards of quality and excellence.  Key initiatives include wellness fairs, the Let’s Move initiative, and the Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS).

Children in the Virgin Islands will benefit from the Territory’s approach of helping children to be ready to learn and ready for school through expansion of programs like Early Head Start which support family engagement, pregnancy, and child health and wellness.