2019 is a big milestone for the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development as we celebrate 50 years of service to children and families.
Since 1969 the Prouty Center has provided leadership through direct services as well as collaborative work with community partners. Named after Senator Winston Prouty of Vermont who co-sponsored the Handicapped Children’s Early Education Assistance Act of 1968, the Center started as First Chance, one of the first programs in the country aimed exclusively for preschool children with special needs that also integrated typically developing children. Incorporated in 1972 as The Winston Prouty Center diverse programs have been developed over the years to support the mission of the Center. Some highlights include: research during the 1970s when Dr. Robert DeVoid, the first executive director, invented and patented a diagnostic test for pre-reading skills; a respite care program in the 1980s for children who were severely handicapped, The Children’s Country Inn; NAEYC accreditation for the Early Learning Center in the 1990s, and state designation as the regional host agency for special education services for birth to age 3.
During the early 2000’s, The Prouty Center led the local implementation of the State of Vermont’s Children’s Integrated Services (CIS), a collaboration between multiple service providers. Prouty convenes the governance team that provides oversight at a community level for this continuum of prevention and early intervention services for children prenatal to age 6. In 2013 WPC became the regional provider of Family Supportive Housing (FSH) a project of the State of Vermont’s Office of Economic Opportunity. The goal of FSH is to assist families to find and maintain stable housing.
In 2016 we purchased and moved into a larger facility located on the former campus of the Austine School for the Deaf, as a step towards meeting the growing needs in our community. We are now working to utilize the WPC Campus more effectively as a community resource. We share our campus with 29 mission-driven organizations.
In June 2017, WPC absorbed the programs and staff of the Windham Child Care Association. This action was important to preserving vital services for our region’s children and families, as well as program that support the quality of early care and learning programs throughout Windham County.
Today, the Prouty Center continues to be a center of excellence for early education and support for child and family development, through two primary programs areas Community-Based Services and the Early Learning Center.
We our kicking off our year of celebration with the unveiling of a special logo marking the anniversary. There will also be opportunities for community partners and Prouty “alumni” children and families to join our celebration. If you have a special stories you would like to share about the Prouty Center, the teachers, fellow student and families, please send us a note through the contact form below. Or contact Margaret Atkinson, Director of Development Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-257-7852 x 307.