Operation Breakthrough loses Head Start program
The office of Head Start announced Friday that the Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project Inc. will assume administrative responsibilities for the Durham Head Start program July 1.
Operation Breakthrough has been operating the Durham program for nearly 50 years, but was forced to compete for oversight responsibilities because of non-compliance issues with Head Start regulations spelled out in the Head Start Reauthorization Act passed by Congress in 2007.
Mike Mathers, director of Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project (CHTOP), said in a statement that his organization hopes to make the transition as “smooth as possible.”
Mathers said all employees of Head Start will be given an opportunity to continue their work with the Durham program as a CHTOP employee through a normal hiring process.
Current program director Terry David has been hired as the interim Head Start director under CHTOP and will help lead the program’s transition.
Mathers said that all eligible children will automatically continue their participation in the Durham program.
He said CHTOP’s main concern is the continued availability of the facilities used by Operation Breakthrough to house the program.
“At this point, our main concern is the continued availability of office and classroom facilities that remain under the auspices of the former grantee, Operation Break Through, Inc.,” Mathers said. “We are hopeful that negotiations for continuing the use of these facilities for the Head Start program will be successful.”
CHTOP has been funded by Head Start since 1977 when it helped develop a training system for Head Start programs in the Southeast.
In 1985, it initiated the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Head Start program when it was still part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System.
After leaving the school system, the program initiated the Orange County Early Head Start program to serve infants and toddlers, and added the Orange County Head Start program a few years later to serve 3- and 4-year-olds.
In 2010, in collaboration with Durham’s Partnership for Children, the program helped launch the Durham County Early Head Start program and continues to operate the DEHS program as the delegate agency.