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COLUMBIA – Families with small children will receive more support from Central Missouri Community Action.

At a recent board meeting, CMCA approved a new strategic plan that hopes to intensify focus on providing support for families who have children up to eight years old.

Executive Director Darin Preis said the plan came after sending out surveys to community members and partners.

“We had community conversations with groups of people throughout the eight counties we serve,” said Preis. “We did surveys of our customers, the people we serve. We did surveys with our partners and just community stakeholders. And we put that all together into a document the sort of highlighted the needs of the community.”

Two of the programs the organization plan to focus on are the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Head Start. The HCV provides housing assistance for low-income individuals and families. Head Start provides assistance in educational activities for children in low-income families.

By honing in on these two programs, it reduces the number of people the organization will help, but increases the amount of services it provides.

“We are going to really focus our attention on providing comprehensive services to fewer families and showing measurable results to moving them toward self sufficiency,” he said.

One program director said this new strategic plan will not only help make the programs more sufficient, it will also help build relationships between staff and program receipeints.

“They’ll have the training that they need and be able to help families as they come in with what it is they’re needing,” said Emily Young. “And also, they will have the relationships with families ongoing.”

The organization is set on implementing this plan by February 2018.