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Our Story

At the end of the second quarter of 2014, the Head Start Program serving the City of Trenton expanded into a comprehensive child development organization serving the health, education, disabilities and social service needs of families living in poverty. The board and executive staff of the former Trenton Head Start intuitively and methodically understood the importance of engaging families and children beyond the preschool years; learned during their 47 year history of providing services to Trenton children and families.

A pilot sample of 139 families who exited Trenton Head Start and enrolled their children in local kindergartens effective September 2014 were outreached to and encouraged to participate in focus groups and surveys to provide proof of concept. The dialogue that occurred during the focus groups was informative, compelling and evidence of the model’s significance, relevance and necessity. Some initial impressions derived from the focus group and completed surveys indicated:

Parents demonstrate a willingness to participate with their peers in developing skills that would reinforce leadership of family achievement goals;
Parents are actively aware of setting individual academic and training goals as a means to set an example and motivate the achievement of their children;
Parents are willing to participate in activities that are not mandated when they add value and bring meaning to their roles and the lives of the individuals in their family;
Parents provide clear contrasts between training activities to support the parenting role and enrichment activities to support the family milieu. This indicates an interest and demand for activities and goal planning in each area.

In response to these findings, the Center for Child and Family Achievement (CCFA) became a program model in 2014. Today the program is operational with 26 families and 70 children participating in programs and activities prescribed by the model and informed by ongoing engagement of families and best practices. For every six families there is a cohort leader that maintains and ongoing query and by way of engagement, the need for service plan adjustments and overall, the effectiveness of the model. Evaluation at critical milestones helps CCFA to measure whether successful acquisition of particular skills and knowledge has occurred and whether educational plan objectives are being met. In our most robust application, CCFA builds the capacity of parents and guardians to actively participate in an informed way, and intentionally guide, within a framework of support and resources, the academic success of their children.

Our Mission & Approach

The CCFA’s approach creates logical and gradual progressions of achievement producing behaviors that become actualized for each unique family. Social science research over the past decades, has suggested that family structure affects children’s school outcomes, from preschool to college. Early childhood education studies also indicate that when a low-income minority child begins kindergarten, there are major disparities. The data also indicates variations in school performance could be explained, in part or in whole, by the differences in family resources, such as time and money, family dynamics and parental characteristics that are associated with various family forms. These are mediating factors, or mechanisms, through which family structure affects schooling outcomes. Family structure may also exert a direct influence, independent of mediating factors. To streamline parental decision making while undergirding family achievement skill and values, CCFA emphasizes:

Outreach and Engagement

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Assessment and Enrollment Eligibility

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Parent Advocacy and Leadership Training

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Family Achievement Cohorts

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Our Partners & Sponsors

  • Bethel United Holy Church
  • Boy Scouts of America Washington Crossing Council
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Trenton
  • Bridges to Books Foundation
  • Catherine R. and Bob Weber
  • Christine's Hope for Kids
  • Classics Books and Gifts
  • Community Works
  • Dress for Success
  • ESY- P.J. Hill Elementary School
  • ETS - Educational Testing Service
  • First Book
  • Forest Valley Daycare
  • Girl Scouts of America
  • Gregory Elementary School
  • Hamilton Public Library
  • KidsBridge
  • KinderSmile Foundation
  • McCarter Theatre Center
  • McDonalds
  • Mercer County Senior Pageant
  • Mercer Street Friends
  • Mission in the City | Monte Plata Providence Dominican Republic
  • Morrisville Presbyterian Church
  • Ms. Debbie and Zachary Venello
  • Nassau Christian Center
  • One Simple Wish
  • Princton-Blairstown Center's Summer Bridge Program
  • Princeton Public Library
  • Princton Theological Seminary
  • Princeton University
  • RE/MAX TriCounty
  • Rider University
  • Robbins Elementary School
  • Rupal and Viral Shah
  • Saint Paul's School - Princton
  • Shira Leeds and Family
  • The College of New Jersey
  • The Jewish Center - Princeton
  • The Women Who Move Mercer
  • Toys for Tots
  • Trenton 365
  • Trenton Area Stakeholders
  • Trenton Board of Education
  • Trenton Digital Initiative
  • Trenton Children's Chorus
  • Trenton Public Library
  • Trinity Church | Princton
  • Trinity Daycare Center
  • Turner Construction Company
  • UIH Partners
  • United Way of Greater Mercer County
  • World Alive Center
  • Yorkship Elementary School | Camden N