The Community Renewal Team (CRT) will no longer operate Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Hartford and Middlesex counties. The programs serve about 300 kids in Hartford, Bloomfield, Bristol, Clinton, Middletown and Portland.
The CRT's Board of Trustees said on Friday that they reluctantly voted to end the more than 50 year contract with the federal Department of Health and Human Services after now-former staff members did not uphold their high quality standards.
“Due to the recent actions by a few now-former staff members who did not uphold the high quality standards in our classrooms that CRT has upheld for over 50 years, we find ourselves forced to make this difficult decision,” said CRT Board Chairman Fernando Betancourt.
"Head Start’s a very rigorous program for any of the agencies that are going to be a part of it. It has very demanding standards for those agencies and for the employees of those agencies. As a company who has been running a Head Start program, we are required to do mandated reporting whenever there are any sort of issues within a classroom setting. We, of course, always did that, as necessary. There were a couple of incidents that did happen that resulted in now former employees who are not part of our system anymore because they didn’t uphold those standards for us that forced our decision, forced our hand," said Jason Black, the Communications Specialist for the Community Renewal Team.
CRT said they are working with other offices, including the Office of Head Start and the Community Development Institute Head Start (CDI HS) to figure out the next steps for the programs.
"CRT and its staff will be making every effort to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible for all of our families, our children and our community,” said Lena Rodriguez, President and CEO of CRT.
A spokesperson for CDI HS said they are working to determine if they have additional capacity to help the impacted kids.
According to CRT officials, they will be retaining programming options for families and children in the Child Day Care and School Readiness classrooms.
Any parents with questions can contact CRT at (860) 560-5600 on Monday.
Officials said a letter was mailed out on Friday to impacted families.