Head Start programs filling up in Duval County

(John Couwels/CNN)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – LSF, the Head Start/Early Head Start grantee in Duval County, is encouraging parents to make sure their children are enrolled in the program, as slots are filling up.

Some locations are already at capacity and not accepting any more students, including the Jacksonville Heights Elementary facility. As of Tuesday afternoon, the center-based Early Head Start program is at capacity. However, about 400 Head Start slots and about 100 home-based Early Head Start openings remain available.

Elementary schools that currently have openings are: North Shore, Rufus Payne, George Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King.

Centers that also have vacancies are: Pearson, R.F Kennedy, 8th Street, Brentwood, Fairway Oaks, A.L. Lewis, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Don Brewer Early Learning, Young Legends, Pearl Academy, Parsons Little Scholar Academy, and Kids Quest Academy.

"Over the past months, there have been ongoing efforts to share with parents the importance of enrolling their children," said Nacole, Guyton, executive director for Jacksonville Head Start/Early Head Start programs. "We are now a few weeks away from the beginning of the school year, and we want to ensure that every eligible child has the opportunity to attend the Head Start program."

LSF also wants to make sure parents are aware of changes to previous center locations their children may have attended, such as the Normandy Center, which was shut down due to health and safety concerns.

For easy accessibility to current centers, bus transportation will be available to and from the following locations: S.P. Livingston Elementary, North shore Elementary, Rufus Payne Elementary, George Washington Carver Elementary, R.F. Kennedy Center, the Don Brewer Early Learning Center, and Chappell Schools Inc.

LSF was awarded a grant to manage Duval County's federally funded Head Start programs in March. The organization will soon serve 1,403 children as part of its Head Start programs and 309 children as part of its Early Head Start programs. The programs are for low-income families with children ages 0 through 5, including those with special needs.

Under LSF, Head Start programs in Duval County this school year will extend an additional two hours per day and will increase from 160-227 days per year. Services will start Aug. 18.

Parents looking to enroll or re-enroll their children should call 904-572-5560. Those interested in enrolling their children into the home-based Early Head Start program can call the Children's Home Society at 904-493-7744.