Head Start Partners Work Together to Avoid Expulsion
Head Start Partners Work Together to Avoid Expulsion

It had been just two weeks since 3-year-old Noah enrolled in the child care program, when his grandmother, Charlotte, received the call. Her heart began to race as the program director explained the familiar behaviors that had gotten Noah expelled from the three previous programs. But just as she was beginning to lose hope, the conversation took a turn.

The child care director began to explain the program's Head Start partnership with The Family Conservancy, and how through that partnership they may be able to move Noah to a center that could better meet his needs.

The following day, a TFC mental health specialist visited the program to better assess Noah's situation. He exhibited behaviors that are common in children who have experienced trauma: excessive temper, throwing, screaming, crying, running away from teachers, and exhibiting violence toward teachers and peers.

A meeting was scheduled between TFC Head Start staff, Noah’s current teacher and a TFC Head Start partner program that had resources to meet Noah’s needs. After discussing how to help Noah succeed, it was decided that the new program would be a good fit.

Noah now works with a behavioral interventionist who shadows and supports him during the morning, transition period — which has always been difficult for him. He also receives one-on-one support in the classroom to help him through challenges.

After just a few short weeks in the new program, Noah is showing signs of improvement. Charlotte, who was days away from losing her job if she didn’t find care for her grandson, was able to remain employed and earn a living to support her family.

Research, by the Foundation for Child Development, indicates that 3 and 4 year old children are being expelled from preschool at a rate higher than school children in grades K through 12. Roughly 1 in 150 preschoolers will be expelled. That’s more than three times higher the rate for older children.

Thanks to the willingness of the programs to work together, and their understanding of Noah’s needs, this expulsion was avoided and he is one the road to success in school and life.