Human Services Department awarded $1M federal grant
Published: October 11, 2013
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The V.I. Human Services Department received a $1 million grant this week from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for an assessment of the Quality Rating Improvement System, which was implemented in August, to assure that the system developed is the best one to support the school readiness of children in the Virgin Islands.
The grant will be dispensed at $250,000 per year to fund research for four years.
"The beauty of the research grant is that it allows us to know if we are truly improving the quality of early childhood services, which is our primary goal with the QRIS," Human Services Commissioner Christopher Finch said in a statement issued Thursday.
To perform the assessment, the Human Services Department will work in partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands, the Governor's Children and Family Council Early Childhood Advisory Committee and the V.I. Education Department.
The grant will allow Human Services to determine the most important factors promoting success in young children when they get to school, according to Elizabeth Jaeger, director of Quality Services for the Human Services Department.
"Such research has been behind the development of all QRIS, but now we get to ask what works best for our children rather than assuming that research conducted elsewhere is a good basis for designing programs to support early childhood in the territory," she said in the prepared statement.
Each partner will work in specified capacities to conduct the research.
Human Services will be the lead child care development fund agency and has determined what will be the priorities for the research.
UVI will conduct the actual studies funded through the partnership.
The Education Department will offer assistance with collecting information on children's school readiness, and the Early Childhood Advisory Committee will serve as an advisory board to the partnership.