Community Action Council & Head Start: Programs Help Pregnant Women & Their Children

Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Inc., is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent, reduce and eliminate poverty among individuals, families and communities through direct services and advocacy.

Started in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, CAC has continuously operated the Head Start program.

Head Start is a federally-funded program with the primary purpose of promoting comprehensive school readiness in young children from low-income backgrounds.

CAC serves approximately 2,000 children – birth through age 5 – and their families each year.

The CAC’s work begins even before birth.  A child born to a healthy woman has a greater chance to reach his potential.

Throughout pregnancy and infancy, newborns form vital attachments with their nurturers and caregivers, which is critical for their psychosocial development.

Therefore, it is crucial for pregnant women and new mothers to have a stable support system in place.

Women who live in or near poverty face steeper challenges maintaining this support system and may lack resources to cope effectively with hardship.

The added stress of insecurity about meeting basic needs can become overwhelming for a new mother.

Women with low income tend to be less likely to seek prenatal health care or tend to seek it late in pregnancy.

These delays are associated with a higher rate of pregnancy complications, including infant mortality.

The Council’s Early Head Start program provides services for eligible pregnant women and their families throughout pregnancy and post-natal period, and through the child’s second year of life.

Highly-trained home visitors meet with pregnant mothers for at least 90 minutes per week, providing consultations on fetal development; nutrition; risk factors during pregnancy, labor and delivery; breastfeeding; postpartum depression; and infant care.

Meeting with families in their homes not only allows them to feel more comfortable but enables staff to better understand factors that may affect the well-being of the mother and the child.

As needed, mothers receive referrals to community health and social service providers to ensure that they have access to resources supporting positive birth outcomes.

Staff follow up to ensure that both mother and infant have received all necessary medical care.

When the infant reaches 6 weeks of age, the family and child may continue in the Council’s home-based model or transition into the center-based model.

The Council is actively seeking to recruit and enroll pregnant women.


Info: For CAC’s Early Head Start program, call (859) 233-4600