COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Forrest County's Head Start program, which was embroiled in controversy last year, has been taken over by a Columbia-based, community action agency.
Pearl River Valley Opportunity, Inc. has been awarded Forrest County's Head Start and Early Head Start programs by the Dept.of Health and Human Services' Division of the Administration for Children and Families. PRVO assumed legal and fiscal responsibility June 1 and will take over operating responsibility on August 1.
P.A.C.E., Inc. had managed the program until last year, when allegations surfaced of unreported sexual abuse of a student. An organization called the Community Development Institute was allowed to run the program on a temporary basis.
"Children we realize, are our most precious commodity, so what we do is to ensure that the children are protected by health and safety methods that we put into our program," said Helmon Johnson, executive director of Pearl River Valley Opportunity, Inc. "And it all depends on the people, the people you hire and their capabilities," he said.
PRVO is already operating Head Start programs in five other Pine Belt counties.