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Morgan County Family Connection is excited to have access to a total of $138,635 to implement and support its county-wide Early Literacy Initiative. The Morgan County Early Literacy Initiative will be open to all families with children 0-5 in the local community with a high focus on families with children age 0-3 years of age. Between the local literacy outreach community events, early literacy website access and literacy materials made available, we anticipate 200+ families could benefit from our established priorities.

Of the $138,635 awarded, $6000 was received from United Way Covid Response Fund and $132,635 was designated for early literacy from the L4GA grant received by the Morgan County School System. This funding will go a long way in helping us address our identified early literacy priorities in Morgan County.

In the summer of 2020, the Morgan County Family Connection Early Literacy Strategy team convened to gather data from various sources to identify the most pressing needs of the whole child impacting literacy. The needs assessment process included gathering information via several surveys directed towards members of our Strategy Team as well as professional partners, community organizations, mental health organizations, daycares/early learning centers and families. The Strategy team consists of representatives from Ferst Readers, DECAL, First Steps Program, Parents as Teachers, Public library, Public Health, and faith-based organizations.

After completing a thorough needs assessment, the Early Literacy Strategy Team prioritized the following three areas of funding needs.

Priority Area #1:
Strengthen the Early Literacy Strategy team to ensure a common messaging about the importance of early literacy development and school ready expectations is uniformed across all areas of the county.

Priority Area #2
Increase access to early literacy programming / services especially targeting 0-3 population as well as training on social emotional learning for these ages as well. This effort will help to ensure families have access to the programs and materials necessary to support their child/ren learning at home.

Priority Area 3:

Establish and implement more opportunities for parents to acquire the skills to promote language development within the home environment through relationships with community partners. In addition, these outreach efforts would be used to identify other needs of the family and helping connect those families with the community resources and supports available.

Local community agencies will be invited to share important information during the local outreach events. These resources may include providing information on local educational and job training opportunities as well as housing options and other valuable resources. By providing incentives like gas cards, diapers, wipes it helps to bring stability and provide support for the entire family.