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"The ecumenical task is to make the church in which we live more like the church that we confess."

Rural Family Development

The mission of Rural Family Development (RFD), an agency of the Virginia Council of Churches, is to enable children and adults of rural households to achieve their potential.  RFD will utilize staff, church and community partners to establish relationships of trust with family members as a basis for providing comprehensive family and child development services.

The RFD Board
RFD has operated as many as 5 Migrant Head Start Centers between May and November serving approximately 120 to a high of 300 children of migrant farm workers from birth to 5 years of age in Accomack, Northampton, Winchester and Warsaw counties.  In the past year RFD took on the responsibility of operating the Caroline County Head Start program in central Virginia serving 95 children three to five years of age. Services are also provided to adult family members.

The Virginia Council of Churches (VCC) is an ecumenical religious organization founded in 1944.  Since 1952, VCC has continuously maintained an expanding program of service to migrant families.  VCC served as the Delegate Agency of East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP) from 1975 through 1998.  In 1999, the responsibilities of the Delegate Agency have been carried out by Rural Family Development (RFD), an affiliate corporation of VCC.  Day Care Services for children began as a natural outreach of the Virginia Council of Churches' Ministry with migrant farm workers.  The Council began a ministry with migrant farm workers in 1948 in four migrant labor camps on the Eastern Shore.  Over the years the ministry expanded to day care services in each of the four major camps prior to the Head Start funding in 1975.  Approximately a staff of 195 was employed by RFD during the course of the migrant season, many of whom have been with the organization for 20 years or more.

What We Do
Rural Family Development, an agency of the Virginia Council of Churches operated Migrant & Seasonal Head Start (MHS) centers between May and October and continues to oversee regular Head Start for pre-school children in Caroline County. RFD delivers services in several major areas:

A quality, individualized child development program is offered.  The program’s objective is for pre-school experiences to lead to successful transitions to public school for children and families.  This “school readiness” is supervised by a staff that is supported in obtaining the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential and working toward the Associate and Bachelor degrees in Early Childhood Development.

Health and Nutrition
Limited medical, dental and mental health services are provided and access to community resources is assured.  Two nutritionally balanced meals and a snack are provided to children, and their parents receive education in nutrition.

Community Partnerships


Collaboration with community agencies assures access to community services for families.

Family Partnerships
Parents are involved in the on-going plans and decisions affecting their children and the Center's program and are supported in working on their personal goals.

In prescribing services, priority is given to serving children with disabilities.


Each child’s developmental and health record follows the family as they move from program to program and is regularly updated throughout the child’s participation in a Head Start program.

Vision Statement

The Vision of Rural Family Development of the Virginia Council of Churches is to "plant seeds" on the lives of the children and families in order to harvest the future. Planting the seeds includes:

School Readiness—Excellence in Education and Health Care—

Development of family opportunities—

To send them forth for the future harvest