Head Start/Anti-Substance Abuse Program Falters in New Jersey
Concerned Parents for Head Start in Paterson, N.J., developed Project Unconditional, a project designed to integrate family and community strengthening components into Head Start to reduce risks for substance abuse.
Paterson is a low-income, minority community with high unemployment in northern New Jersey. The target community for the project was a public housing project known to be a major distribution point for illegal drugs.
Project Unconditional featured three main components:
- A parent support module for approximately 30 families.
- Parent mentors for these families.
- An advisory committee charged with developing community action projects related to issues of substance abuse.
Because of staffing problems, the project did not implement the family and community strengthening components of the model, despite intensive support from the Free to Grow National Program Office.
RWJF declined to grant Concerned Parents for Head Start funding for the three-year implementation phase of the project.