News Release, Maryland State Department of Education
BALTIMORE – The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood has awarded 24 grants to serve 53 elementary schools in Maryland. Each of the state’s 24 jurisdictions has been funded for one or more Judy Center Early Learning Hubs (Judy Centers). The grant, which totals $11,700,000, provides two-generational program supports to children and families and helps achieve the goal of all children entering kindergarten ready to succeed, regardless of income.
Judy Centers are based primarily in Title I schools and have become an integral part of Maryland’s early childhood system, providing greater coordination among early childhood education and support services. They are essential in directing critical services and resources to families with the greatest needs. According to Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, in Title I schools where Judy Centers are located, students outperform their peers from Title I schools without Judy Centers.
In the 1990’s, Judith P. Hoyer, the Early Education Coordinator for Prince George’s County Public Schools, lamented the gaps in available services for low-income families. To better support families, she created a central location in Adelphi, Maryland for important early childhood services, fostering cooperation of governmental and private agencies around the needs of local families. After her death in 1997, her husband, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), in partnership with then Governor Parris N. Glendening, led a successful movement to bring her model of collaboration to other areas of Maryland.
As a result, the Maryland State Legislature enacted the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program in May of 2000, and in 2001, 13 Judy Centers were established across the state. Since 2001, 40 additional Judy Centers have been added, with at least one Judy Center in each jurisdiction. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the Judy Centers.
For more information on the Judy Centers, visit the Maryland Families Engaged website at https://marylandfamiliesengage.org/judy-centers/?_search=Judy%20center