The Hidden Gems in Our Region: These Programs Make a Difference
Written By: Christy S. Renjilian
Did you know that 27% of Pennsylvanians who work struggle to survive from one paycheck to the next?
This group is referred to as ALICE—an acronym that means Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed.
They make more than the federal poverty guidelines and as a result, don’t qualify for support services.
But they don’t make enough to make ends meet and provide for the basic essentials.
Community Connections for Children works with many organizations to support these families.
One of the leading agencies Community Connections for Children refers families to is their local Community Action Agency. We partner with these programs throughout our region, creating connections to support children and families.
In fact, many of the families we serve also receive services from their local Community Action Agency—services like Head Start/Early Head Start, Rental Assistance, Utility Assistance, or WIC. They also offer job training programs and assistance in becoming self-sufficient.
If you or someone you know is looking for support for her child or family, here is a list of programs making a difference every day.
The Pennsylvania Statewide HelpLine
One team member with over 17 years of experience at Community Connections for Children answered over 6,900 calls this past year made to the Pennsylvania Statewide HelpLine. Yes, almost 7,000 phone calls.
Calls come in from persons located in all 67 counties looking for assistance in finding child care, concerned about their child’s development, other needs related to housing, food assistance, and even looking to become Department of Human Services Certified home-based family providers.
If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to the Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4PA-KIDS (1-877-472-5437). We will provide information about finding or paying for child care, and other concerns you may have.
You can also reach out to Pennsylvania’s CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for information about your child’s development and connecting to Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the State HelpLine, CCC provides resources and referral services to the residents
of the 13 counties we serve. Three team members completed approximately 4,000 referrals to local agencies. The most requested services this past fiscal year were:
1. Head Start/Early Head Start
2. Pre-K Counts
3. Information about the Keystone STARS program (high-quality child care and after-school
4. Rental Assistance Services
5. Energy Assistance (Li-Heap)
8. Child Development Information
All of these agencies work with individuals and families from a strength-based perspective—building on the strengths and resources they do have to help them achieve their
goals. It’s not a handout, but instead a partnership and a hand-up.
Our partners are:
- Adams County, South Central Community Action Agency, firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-334-7634
- Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry Counties, Tri County Community Action, 717-232-9757
- Lancaster County, Community Action Partnership, 717-299-7301
- Lebanon County, Community Action Partnership, email@example.com or 717-273-9328
- York County, Community Progress Council (CPC) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-846-4600
Community Connections for Children also works closely with our County Assistance Offices (CAO) for
families receiving TANF, LIHEAP, and SNAP.
Additional Community Services and Programs
Many of the families we serve are in need of one of these programs that help them cover the cost of utilities, food, and other basic needs. Community Connections for Children partners with the CAO offices to provide Child Care Works (CCW) funds to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) families to assist them in paying for child care. Families must be the requirements of the program to be eligible.
To find the contact information for your County Assistance Office, visit:
There are some other community partners we work closely with. These include but are not
limited to nonprofits, school districts, United Ways, foundations, Chambers of Commerce, and
local business leaders.
Some of the key partners that provide services to our families include:
New Hope Ministries
New Hope Ministries serves people in times of need by supporting their efforts toward stability. Services include food banks and stability and workforce development programs.
Lehman Center- Children’s Aid Society
The Lehman Center offers emergency respite care for children from newborn through six years of age in a 24-hour crisis nursery, child-centered creative art therapy, family advocate services, and parental education and support groups.
Connections Early Intervention and Supports
Connections Early Intervention and Supports provide children and families with therapeutic programs and experiences that allow them to reach their maximum potential and abilities.
Cornerstone Youth Home
Cornerstone Youth Home is a community-driven solution serving students, ages 6 through 18, experiencing homelessness and transience. They provide long-term, stable housing to the children while working with their families to resolve issues surrounding education, employment, health, and housing.
The ‘Why Behind’ Community Services
Community Services is an umbrella term for the programs offered here at Community Connections for Children, Inc.—the services that support (and fuel!) the entire community.
Each program ensures that all families and children have what they need to be successful in school and life. These programs connect families to needed services, provide supportive and nurturing relationships to promote family well-being and make our communities a better place.
And they are responsive to individual questions and needs.
Community services are much-needed, and they meet each family where they are…
- They help families find childcare and provide information on how to select the best care possible for their child.
- They provide connections between families experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, or domestic violence with the agencies that assist with those needs.
- They help families who may be facing challenges related to a difficult pregnancy, concerns about how their child is developing, or a need for some support in improving their communication and parenting skills.
- And they even help employers find and retain workers, an in-demand service during the past two years.
An example of Community Service at Community Connections for Children, Inc. is the partnership with the START program to support individuals who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. Core to our mission is support like this, providing access to needed services and making our communities better.
Community services are for all people. Anyone—family or child care provider—that lives in the Community Connections for Children, Inc. service area can connect with and utilize the programs, regardless of income. We serve Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, and York counties.
Contact Community Connections for Children today to connect to the programs, services, and agencies listed: https://cccforpa.org/contact-us/.
About Community Connections for Children, Inc.
Community Connections for Children, Inc. (CCC) is a nonprofit centered in the heart of Pennsylvania. They serve childcare providers and low-income families ‒ the ones that have been impacted the most by the pandemic.
For you and your business, CCC helps keep childcare options open for your employees ‒ saving missed work hours and lowering on-the-job stress levels. They work with early childhood education programs and home-based providers to improve the quality of care, ensuring that all children enter school ready to be successful.
Christy Renjilian serves as its Executive Director.
To learn more, visit childcareconsultants.org.