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Children First

23 Jun 2022 10:55 AM | Kristie Calandro (Administrator)

Locally and around the nation, families have seen the cost of childcare soar as the number of slots for age-eligible children have become scarce. As Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, Children First continues to work with key community partners to combat the childcare crisis.

The agency has received nearly $45,000 in support of its comprehensive services for children and families living at risk. Recent funding includes $15,000 from The Libertore Fund for Children, $5,000 from the Venice Golf and Country Club Foundation, $3,500 from the Annette J Hagens Memorial Foundation, $3,500 from the Plantation Community Foundation, and $1,000 from the Sarasota Yacht Club Cares Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County in support of scholarships for children in need.

Other grants awarded include $12,094.94 from the Martha Leiter and Nancy Streetman Fund II at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County as a reimbursement for the Partners for Green Places sustainability initiative, $2,478 from Suncoast Charities for Children for 7 pack & play cribs, 1 evacuation crib, and 16 toddler cots and an additional grant of $1,500 from Suncoast Charities to support a Job Skills Training class for parents and caregivers through the agency’s award-winning Families First Institute.

Scholarships support comprehensive services including early childhood education, nutrition, emotional and behavioral support, and family strengthening services for the most vulnerable children and families living in our community. By providing scholarships for full-day infant and toddler care and pre-school education, parents also receive the opportunity to strengthen their finances and ultimately achieve self-sufficiency.

“We’ve noticed that the overall trend is toward fewer families with children but more who are struggling. Our waitlist for young children and families in need of service in Sarasota County continues to grow, with 71% of families served through our agency being single parents,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “We are deeply grateful for our community partners who help us to provide the quality care and education necessary for our children and families.”

About Children First:

Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to

8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

941-757-1664 |

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