The Westchester Community Opportunity Program (WCOP) is comprised of one grantee and five delegate agencies. WCOP serves 25 communities in Westchester County, an affluent bedroom community of New York City with growing reservoirs of poverty spilling over from the city's boundaries. The total funded enrollment for the grantee and delegate agencies is 1,970 children; and both the grantee and the delegate agencies provide full-day services for Head Start as well as non-Head Start children. In all, full-day services are provided for 828 Head Start children.
The WCOP philosophy is to supply services to children in need. Therefore, in the delivery of services, the grantee does not distinguish between Head Start and non-Head Start children. The Head Start director indicated that Head Start provides the infrastructure for delivering services to poor children, and regardless of the funding source, Head Start Performance Standards are followed for all children and for all services.
In recent years, WCOP has dealt with a growing population of homeless children as well as infants and toddlers of drug abusing parents. WCOP is part of a number of programs, including an HHS McKinney demonstration project, that support these children. Both the Head Start director and the executive director of the County Child Care Council feel that today's most pressing needs are for services for infants and toddlers. That feeling emanates from the fact that if these high-risk children (e.g., homeless, drug exposed) do not receive services before their third birthday, long-term, permanent damage in their cognitive, social, and physical development will occur, thus causing the required level of services for these children to increase greatly.