Tri-County Community Action (TCC) is a recipient of a federal Early Head Start program grant.

In early February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted more than $1 million to improve children's lives in nine counties in central and northeast Minnesota.

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The TCC is also a key partner in TALK, a cooperative community program that includes TCC, Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency, Lakes and Pines Community Action Council and Kootasca Community Action Partnership.

"The grant money is critical for our organizations' common goal of providing Early Head Start child care services to 72 additional children from birth to age 3 in the counties we serve," stated Kraig Gratke, TCC's Early Head Start manager, in a press release.

The Minnesota counties include Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, Aitkin, Carlton, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Pine and St. Louis.

In addition to funding TALK's local child care programs and high-quality early learning opportunities for children in need, the grant also helps the organization improve resources and strengthen personnel. Adding six new staff members is planned and budgeted.

"Early Head Start programs are the foundation for helping at-risk infants and toddlers at the local level," stated Larry Ketchum, TCC director of operations, in the release. "Federal investments ensure success for our mission and the children we care about. The next 18 months will make such a difference in so many lives thanks to this much-needed grant."

For more information about the federal Early Head Start program grant and the TALK community partnership, contact Larry Ketchum at 320-632-3691 or by email at