NORWALK, Conn. -- Day care facilities at Nathaniel Ely School and Ben Franklin Center in Norwalk will be open under their normal schedules Monday for parents and children, NEON officials announced in an email.
Head Start parents can bring their children to school Monday morning as usual, said a statement sent on behalf of Chiquita Stephenson, acting CEO/president of Norwalk Economic Opportunity NOW Inc., the city's anti-poverty agency.
The centers will operate as day care facilities, not as part of the Head Start preschool program. But this will allow parents to have child care and go to work.
The federal government last week suspended NEON’s management of its Heart Start program, revoking its authority to administer the federal program effective immediately, NEON said.
NEON officials say the decision came with “virtually no notice” to the agency.
In September, the federal Office of Head Start (OHS) sent NEON a letter notifying the agency of a “deficiency” in its program. A review found that NEON had lapsed in paying some of its bills.
The OHS report charges that the agency owed more than $220,000 in back payments to nine vendors, in some cases dating back to November 2012. As a result, some first aid kits were not fully stocked and the agency was not able to acquire specialty foods for kids with dietary restrictions, according to the federal report.
The letter gave NEON 30 days to pay its vendors, and 120 days to correct the health and safety problems associated with it. Stephenson said she and the board had been working with OHS to correct the situation.
The federal government has shifted control of Norwalk’s program to the Community Development Institute Head Start, which handles operations for the program in cases such as Norwalk’s.
Read the full story here in The Daily Voice.