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Choctaw Nation receives grant to improve early learning and child development coordination

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma stands firm in its belief that children are the future and continues to work to provide quality programs and facilities to help their children grow into strong, healthy and self-sufficient individuals for a strong Nation of Choctaw People.

To help further its goal of empowering youth, the Administration for Children and Families is partnering with Choctaw Nation as one of four tribes to participate in a new initiative — the Tribal Early Learning Initiative (TELI). TELI will work to improve the coordination of early learning and development programs.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, along with the Confederate Salish & Kootenai Tribes in Montana, Pueblo San Felipe in New Mexico, and White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, received $31,500 supplemental grants on Sept. 29.

All four tribes participate in ACF’s Head Start, child care, and Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (TMIECHV) programs. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will concentrate its TELI grant on improving collaboration across these programs to increase efficiency and access.

“The families served by these three programs represent the most at-risk, high needs families within the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma,” said Angela Dancer, senior director of Choctaw Nation Better Beginnings, which serves a tribal community of 90,000 members in a 10 and a half county area.

Dancer’s center works with clients who often lack resources needed to provide the basic necessities for their families, such as housing, food, clothing, transportation and adequate medical care.

“It is our responsibility as not only employees, but also members of the Choctaw Nation, to work to ensure the children we serve are allowed the opportunities they deserve to have a future of hope and sustainment,” she said. “By improving coordination between these early education programs, we will be prepared to help future generations of our Choctaw children to be healthy, successful and self-sufficient individuals that will continue to embrace the strengths of not only their selves, but their Choctaw heritage as well.” 

ACF will work closely with Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to:

  • Facilitate peer learning sessions
  • Identify obstacles that block efforts to build and maintain partnerships
  • Develop strategies and solutions to address obstacles
  • Make sure strategies adhere to tribal community values, traditions and priorities

Choctaw Nation Better Beginnings/TMIECHV Chahta Inchukka, Head Start and Child Care Assistance are committed to quality child care and early learning programs. They will work closely with each other to achieve current goals and increase services to eligible families through the TELI.