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Sullivan County Head Start reopens today

Alex Kielar
Posted 4/9/24

WOODBOURNE – The temporary Sullivan County Head Start provider, Community Development Institute (CDI), will be reopening centers in Woodbourne and Monticello today, April 9.

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Sullivan County Head Start reopens today


WOODBOURNE – The temporary Sullivan County Head Start provider, Community Development Institute (CDI), will be reopening centers in Woodbourne and Monticello today, April 9.

It was announced by U.S. Rep Marc Molinaro (NY-19) on Friday that the Office of Head Start (OHS) informed him of the reopening.

As the Democrat previously reported, Sullivan Head Start unexpectedly closed on February 2. Since then, a collaborative effort by State and Federal government and local officials commenced to get Head Start reopened. 

Sullivan County Health and Human Services Commissioner, John Liddle, had said in February that it would take about a month to reopen once an interim management came aboard. CDI came aboard on Monday, February 12, so the process took nearly a month longer than originally hoped by Liddle and the county. 

Sullivan Head Start relinquished its grant on February 7, which was a step in order for the program to transition to the interim service provider. 

“This was the step I’ve been pushing for alongside our local partners in Sullivan County,” Molinaro said. “It will allow us to return children to the Head Start program.”

Molinaro also said that the work will continue on securing a permanent Head Start provider as well as delivering accountability for the closure of the childcare center. 

“The fact remains: Sullivan Head Start should have never closed to begin with,” he said. “And it’s unnerving that these disruptions to family and staff went on for so long.”

Molinaro as well as U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer personally wrote letters to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, soon after the abrupt closure, calling for the feds to expedite the process of reopening. 

“Sullivan County families can finally breathe a sigh of relief with Head Start opening [today] to restore the critically needed childcare services our families need,” said Schumer. “This is a major step forward to helping parents who were forced to scramble for childcare.

 “I thank the dedicated local partners my office worked alongside in Sullivan County to help return childcare services to these hundreds of families in need,” Schumer concluded.

District 2 Legislator and Chair Nadia Rajsz also said that she is grateful for the efforts of CDI on reopening Head Start and creating a partnership with the legislature.

“Like anything with an outside company, they were slow on the uptick,” said Rajsz. “But they got acclimated, got their certificate of occupancy and everything that was needed to be in place to welcome back our residents. We look forward to continuing our partnership [with them], including when Head Start transitions to a permanent operator.”

Rajsz also said that she is personally glad to see the children of the county once again receiving the services that they need from teachers and staff they have known all their young lives. 

District 1 Legislator Matt McPhillips also said he is pleased to see Sullivan County Head Start resuming services for students and families. 

“I am proud of the work that has been done by our County employees to help bridge the gap in services in the meantime,” Matt McPhillips said, “and the work by our State and Federal partners to get the program back up and running as quickly as possible.

“It is no secret that Sullivan County families rely on the services provided by Head Start, and it is a major relief that they will be available once again,” Matt McPhillips concluded. 

Sullivan County Community Resources Commissioner, Laura Quigley, who sits on Sullivan County Head Start Inc.’s board, said, “[CDI] is a professional, accomplished team and thanks to their diligent efforts, the children of Sullivan County can return to a place they love and depend upon. And their families can return to the welcomingly familiar rhythm of their lives before this disruption happened.”


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