Dr. Melania Kesoglou, Ed.S., Ph.D., and Director of Education at Children First, has been invited to serve on the National Head Start Association’s Region IV Foster Care Challenge (FCC) Committee. In her role, Dr. Kesoglou will help to oversee the FCC’s work in Head Start’s Region IV, the southeastern United States, representing more than 170,000 children, 40,000 staff and 300 member programs.
The goal of the FCC Committee is to find ‘forever homes’ for America’s teens, ages 13-17, currently living within the foster care system. The FCC works in collaboration with the offices of Head Start and Child Welfare to promote teen adoptions, with recruitment efforts focusing on teens currently in foster care, experiencing homelessness, or in transition, as well as teens participating in the Early Head Start Expectant Parent Program.
As Director of Education at Children First, Dr. Melania oversees the Head Start and Early Head Start Education programs at 15 locations throughout Sarasota County, which provide high-quality early childhood education to approximately 900 children annually, ages birth to five.
With more than 34 years of experience in the Early Childhood Education field, her area focus is on educational practices that emphasize interpersonal relationships, cultural diversity, child-centered curriculum and the inclusion of children with special needs in all educational programs.
Dr. Kesoglou has served the Head Start and Early Childhood Education communities at the local, state, and national levels. As a Federal Reviewer for the Office of Head Start (OHS) and a Program Validator for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), she works with agencies across the country to ensure consistent quality and accountability.
“I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve the broader Head Start community through this special initiative of finding ‘forever homes’ for our nation’s foster youth. Because of their age, teenagers are often less likely to be adopted, and much more likely to age out of the system without strong or stable family support. I will continue to put my heart and passion into advocating for the health, well-being, and future successes of the thousands of children and teenagers currently in our foster care system,” says Dr. Kesoglou.
About Children First:
Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social, emotional, and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to childrenfirst.net.