New SafeStart Infant Toddler and Family Development Center at Community Services for Children

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

COMMUNITY SERVICES FOR CHILDREN, a not-for-profit provider of early learning and child care support services for young children and their parents, low-income families, and child care providers, has outgrown their existing facility and are expanding their successful SafeStart program into a new $5.4 million day treatment center for infants and toddlers at CSC's Donley Children's Campus in East Allentown.

SafeStart, a nationally funded Early Head Start-Child Welfare collaboration with the Lehigh and Northampton County Children and Youth Departments, serves drug/ alcohol-affected, abused/ neglected infants and toddlers, ages 0-3 and their families, to overcome health problems, developmental delays, and emotional trauma. The program strengthens families to stop the cycle of abuse. With early, intensive intervention, their future can change from failure and costly consequences to success.

With funding from ARRA, US Department of Health and Human Services, the Children and Youth Departments of both Lehigh and Northampton Counties, and an aggressive capital campaign, CSC contracted with USA Architects of Easton, PA and Spaces for Children to design the new 12,000 sf Infant Toddler and Family Development Center – the region's only therapeutic classroom program for abused infants and toddlers.

The program provides a therapeutic-based setting, six hours per day, five days per week for infants and toddlers to receive individualized loving, high-quality care and developmental services. Low therapeutic teacher-to-child ratios support the physical and emotional needs of the child. Specialized therapies to lessen symptoms of drug impact and consequential developmental delay such as occupational, physical, sensory, speech/language and feeding therapies are provided onsite, as needed. Psychological observation and consultation are made available on a weekly basis to all children. Daily transportation, all meals, and care giving materials are provided for each child.

The one-story building with sloping roofs and residential appeal includes classrooms, therapy rooms, mental health related spaces, parent-child greeting room, preparation kitchen, laundry facilities, indoor play area, administration offices and storage. The design features clad wood windows surrounding the building, and cupolas along the length of the roof to maximize natural lighting conditions. Construction is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011.

Located in Allentown, PA, CSC is a local administrator for Head Start and Early Head Start/SafeStart programs that serve more than 35,000 children and families in the Lehigh Valley, as well as 11 other counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania.