How a child learns, moves, and interacts with others during the first three years of life has a lasting effect on that child’s ongoing development. Because most of what a child learns in those first three years comes from its parents, Early Head Start focuses on helping parents find the best ways for stimulating the child’s thinking, movement, and social skills. Through education and community collaboration Early Head Start helps families promote healthy prenatal outcomes, identify and accomplish school readiness goals, and strengthen children’s physical, social/emotional, and cognitive skills. It also supports the achievement of parents’ goals, such as economic independence.
Early Head Start offers an intensive, comprehensive, and flexible child development program that is designed to reinforce and respond to the unique strengths and needs of individual children and families. Pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to three years of age receive individualized services through weekly home visits from knowledgeable professionals or in child-care settings available through partnerships between Early Head Start and the community.
"All children from birth to age three need early child development experiences that honor their unique characteristics and provide love, warmth, and positive learning experiences; and all families need encouragement and support from their community so they can achieve their own goals and provide a safe and nurturing environment for their very young children."
DDI VANTAGE, Inc. does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic group identification, ancestry, political beliefs, mental or physical disability, or any other legally protected status in its programs, services, activities, or employment.
DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start is a federally funded community based program, serving 148 children within Granite and Murray school districts, Tooele city and Grantsville.
DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start offers a home-based service for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women. Once a week, a trained Family Advocate comes into the family’s home for ninety minutes, to offer fun activities, services and information. The Family Advocate may focus on child development, health and safety, nutrition, reading with your child, parent education, pre-natal health education, transportation support, etc. During home visits the Family Advocate will bring activities and information that focus on goals set by the family, which are based on the individual family’s needs and interests.
To promote health and wellness in our families, we follow well-baby checks, dental exams, and immunization to encourage and educate families on prevention, early identification, and intervention. Families are given support, information, and referrals to social services that meet the needs of the family. Early Head Start provides home-based services to 120 infants, toddlers and pregnant women in the Granite and Murray school districts, Tooele city and Grantsville.
Through Early Head Start Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships the DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start (DDIV EHS) Program supports eligible infants and toddlers enrolled in community child care programs in Salt Lake and Tooele Counties. Such collaborations can help to maintain high quality child care that encourages healthy child development by providing Child Care Advisers to support the efforts of center teachers and staff. DDIV EHS also engages children’s families by providing Family Advocates to support each family’s needs using a holistic approach that focuses on family, community, school-readiness, health, and safety. These partnerships aim also to enrich the environments in which children explore, play, and learn, building strong foundations for a more successful school experience.
Families participate in different activities, interact with their peers and participate in community learning during socializations. Through our home-based program we offer one activity at our building twice a month, at different times to meet the needs of our families. During socializations, at the Early Head Start building, we offer a family style meal. Once a month families enjoy a community activity and all entrance fees are covered by Early Head Start. Through our center-based program we schedule activities based on the teen parents' interests and varying schedules. Transportation support is provided to families, as needed, for all activities.
Parent Committee meetings are held for both home-based and center-based. These meetings give the families an opportunity to voice their opinions, make decisions about the activities for the program, and develop leadership skills. Parents are elected to hold the following positions: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Policy Council Representatives. The Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary are responsible for the parent committee. Through the Policy Council and Parent Committee, parents and other community representatives actively participate in the shared decision-making process concerning program design and implementation.
BUFF activities are scheduled every other month. During these activities, fathers/male figures have an opportunity to interact with the child in a learning environment. Father/male figures are encouraged to participate in the activity to increase their involvement in the child’s life. Once a month Family Advocates bring out a handout of an activity that is developmentally appropriate for the father/child. Fathers/males are encouraged to read to their children through our father/male involvement reading program. Once a month, through this program, the father/male and child receive a no cost book if they read 12 times for 15 minutes during the month.
Early Head Start is a no cost program for families that have a child under three years old or pregnant women. Families must meet the federal criteria for low-income. A pregnant woman is counted as two people when calculating the number in household. Extended family living in the home are not considered part of the family when calculating eligibility of family. Ten percent of the families enrolled in Early Head Start may have income that is over the Federal Criteria for low-income.
DDI VANTAGE Early Head start services families in Murray and Granite school districts, Tooele city and Grantsville. Zip codes: 84044, 84128, 84120, 84119, 84118, 84123, 84115, 84106, 84109, 84124, 84117, 84107 and part of 84121 and 84084.
Early Head Start receives referrals from several sources; community, flyers, Utah Clicks, TANF, other agencies. Once Early Head Start receives a referral, the family is contacted and given more detailed information about the program. An application appointment is set. The family is required to provide immunization records, birth certificate, and income verification with the application. After a family fills out an application they are placed on a waiting list. The family is notified when there is an opening in Early Head Start. Since we are a year round program and do not follow traditional school schedules a family may be contacted at any time during the year.
Find out more about DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start by reviewing some common questions about this program:SEE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
States and D.C.
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*Applicants must qualify based on these income guidelines. Some exceptions may apply.
These guidelines are used from 8/1/2018 to 7/31/2019.
**Pregnant Women Count as Two Persons
Enrollment priority is given to families that face certain risks or difficulties, including teen parents, housing concerns, parents' education less than 8th grade, language barriers, foster child, single parent, and/or developmental delays.
DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start Locations:
5287 South 4015 West
Taylorsville, Utah 84129
Phone: (801) 966-0497
Fax: (801) 966-0821
565 East 4500 South, Ste A200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
Phone: (801) 268-0056
Fax: (801) 268-1319
167 South Main
Tooele, Utah 84074
Phone: (435) 882-3439
Fax: (435) 882-0118
Charity Vanleeuwen’s past taught her to trust no one. Just after giving birth to a baby girl, the baby’s father came into the hospital with a gun and tried to take her baby from her. Eventually, he did take Charity’s baby girl forever. He murdered her baby, her best friend, her best friends daughter, and then took his own life.
Charity later found Jesse Jolley and they now have children together. However, the sorrow Charity endured left her in a dark place. Her shattered heart left Charity with no desire to take care of herself. She expressed her pain and frustrations through yelling and she had no patience for her young children. Charity’s life was bleak, with no plans for the future; she rarely left her home. This is where her Family Advocate, Senada, found her; in a dark room with closed blinds.
Much has changed in her life since those first home visits. In the beginning, Charity merely admitted Senada into her home; she later welcomed her with excitement. When her child was diagnosed with failure to thrive, she lacked the knowledge and confidence to mix formula and administer medication. During this time, she trusted Senada to guide and uplift her.
Both Charity and Jesse state that understanding their children’s development has helped them gain patience. They now recognize that they are their children’s first teachers and can help prepare them. Charity says she can now talk to people, use the buses, and be the advocate she needs to be to meet her family’s needs. Charity thanks DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start and especially Senada Ljuma for “talking to her and not judging her”.
In October 2015, Charity was recognized by the Utah Head Start Association as the Parent of the Year. We are excited for her to receive this recognition. Despite many obstacles, she has grown to be a confident mother and a stronger woman. Congratulations Charity!
Far form the mom that I am now, I remember when I heard an announcement on the radio about the program, I got really excited and I wanted to know more about it, because I just had my first daughter and had the desire to be a good mom. I was very nervous for not having the experience to take care and teach our child. My husband and I were scared of not being good parents.
We learned to work through goals and always had the support of the program. Thanks to the program we learned that perfect parents do not exist but the ones that make the biggest effort to raise their children happy and healthy too. We also received a lot of support on different ideas to enjoy as families and the socialization helped us share quality time with our children.
Now we have learned that we are not alone our fears to raise children and we also learned that there is a lot of help to receive the necessary support. This program inspired us to be an important part of the community, and to give support whenever we could. To always try to be a good person, better parents, and above all to enjoy each possible moment as a family.
I just want to say I think that DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start is such an appropriate program for parents and their children, a program that can be utilized as a tool when building the blocks of life in and for our children. This program is like a medical necessity in our community, I have learned so much and, honestly I’m not sure where I would be without it. I had such a great time over the last year and some odd months, not only does this program offer great parent-to-child teaching tools, it also encourages positive parent time with unique activities to build a stronger bond between parent and child. I think this is imperative and a fundamental exchange of love which enriches the entire family and ensures irreplaceable success.
I have told so many people about my experience here at the Early Head Start program basically begging those people to enroll their children. I have had such a phenomenal experience. The staff themselves who make up this program are dedicated and so very supportive I felt comfortable and safe. My family also enjoyed all of the activities like going to the farm and concerts and I had the distinct honor and pleasure of representing the state of Utah at the Federal Head Start Conference in VA. All of us here are going to miss this experience and the people we came to be so close to and we wish that we could go on forever but this wouldn’t be fair to other families who want to share the same experience so we gladly step aside. We don’t want anyone to miss out on something that will surely change their lives in a wonderful, refreshing, positive way.
We will keep you all at the Early Head Start program in our minds and in our hearts. We can never thank you enough for all that you have done for our family and we hope that you remember us as well. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you in the future, we will always make time for you. Farewell our dear friends and we hope you continue touching families and changing their lives forever! Best of wishes!
My son was exactly two years old when he entered the program. He was a very caring and playful child, but he lacked a little development in his vocabulary. He spoke very little and some of the words he would say backwards.
Now, after one year, my son has a very complete vocabulary. He has learned the majority of his colors, to count from 1-10, to open up more, in accordance with his age. He has evolved so much. In the end it has been a very good experience.
I liked the experience of the program a lot. It helps involve you and your children and with more people, learning the needs of the community, and learning to help in what you can as a volunteer and involving your children to do the same. Teaching them to be volunteers to them as well so that they can be contributing members of the community and at a young age learn the importance of helping your neighbor and community, and when they are adults they will be people that like to help.
Thanks to DDI VANTAGE EHS the benefits have been marvelous, more than I could have hoped for. The support of my Family Specialist was a great help. Thanks to the evaluations, we know where my son needed help, and we went to work on those goals, which he has now been able to overcome. Today my son is farther ahead with his age range, and that makes me feel proud of him. And, obviously, I wouldn’t have achieved that without the help of the benefits of this program. Goals, concerns, activities, and activities and overcoming is the rest of a good work and relation with the program and with my specialist.
Now I am better prepared as a mom to help my son with his development, and definitely this was, more than anything, my objective. Enjoying my time with him and learning and also how to have a good attitude. Thank you, this is a very good program, because as soon as I heard about you I knew that you were the perfect ones to do something with my son that was for certain what it would happen there, since I want the very best for my children.
Well, now I am not going to be an expert in this, but for the least I know how to teach my son to learn by playing and overall, playing what with what he likes the most. I know as well that being constant in something also yields many results. In short, I feel better trained for him. I know how to take advantage of every minute that I spend with him. I thank you very much for your help, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have achieved without your help.