As sequestration cut programs and children across the country in 2013, NHSA intensified its advocacy efforts with the use of strong, undeniable visuals. After calling attention to children losing services with the Empty Seats displays across the country and on Capitol Hill in October, NHSA told the deeply personal stories of cuts with a national sequester photo exhibit. The Lost Opportunities: A Lens on Head Start and the Sequester exhibit launched on January 27th at the U.S. Capitol’s Russell Senate Office Building, sponsored by NHSA, the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association and the National Indian Head Start Directors' Association. Created in collaboration with Curators Without Borders, the exhibit depicts the life of rural, urban, tribal, and migrant Head Start programs and families in Kentucky, California, Maine, Maryland, and South Dakota - and how those lives were affected by cuts.
For each state, particular panels highlight Head Start’s comprehensive services to families and the community with images of the health, nutrition, disability and educational services Head Start provides. Other panels explore Head Start’s losses as a result of the sequester and how individual programs, families, and children were affected.
Raising awareness of the Head Start program and the services it offers to our nation's most at-risk children is vital to continued expansion and ensuring the sequester is ended for good before cuts resume in 2016. To help raise awareness, NHSA’s Lost Opportunities photo exhibit will be traveling throughout the United States, visiting statehouses, Head Start programs, conferences, and more. If your program would like to host the Lost Opportunities exhibit or print photos to display on your own, please fill out the application below.
The photo exhibit provides a wonderful opportunity to let your community and Members of Congress learn about the services Head Start provides and to remind them of the need for a continued commitment to Head Start and our nation's most vulnerable children. Interested programs will have the option to display the entire exhibit at their regional conferences, statehouses, local program or any site that would help bring attention to Head Start's high-quality, comprehensive services for at-risk children and families.
If you do not believe you have the space to hold the entire exhibit, NHSA is offering several other options:
The full Lost Opportunities exhibit consists of 13 double-sided fabric panels. Each panel is 6 ft by 6ft. The only cost to the program to host the exhibit is the shipping cost to and from the exhibit site. Included with the exhibit, we will give you step-by-step instructions on constructing the exhibit to fit your space.
Technology for the Rural Enhancement of Communities (TREC) is the grantee for Head Start programs in six rural counties in western South Dakota. TREC – Badlands Head Start: Prenatal to Five’s programs are located in one of the most destitute regions of the nation. Pine Ridge Reservation in Shannon County is home to the only Tribal Head Start program in the country to be jointly administered by a non-tribal entity, Badlands Head Start, which manages home-based services, and the Oglala Lakota College, which runs all center-based services on the reservation. Badlands Head Start provides services to 194 children, employing nearly 35 interdisciplinary staff members in 2013-14. In a region where driving distances are excessive and back country roads can be impassible, Badlands Head Start administrators, Policy Council members and Board of Directors chose to reduce staff through attrition and delay vehicle purchases rather than cut services to families, many of whom are homebound and live in remote regions of the reservation and ranching areas.
Audubon Area Community Services, Inc. Head Start serves over 1,800 children and families in sixteen rural counties of western Kentucky. Their 53 early education sites include Head Start centers, family child care facilities, home-based socialization sites, and Migrant centers. Audubon has been named a Head Start Center of Excellence for their Reggio Emilia-based approach and has seen teen pregnancy rates fall significantly in high-risk communities where they operate teen parent programs in local high schools. To meet the 5.27% sequester cut, Audubon closed two centers, laid off 42 staff and cut 164 slots using select criteria and a point system to evaluate all families.
Catholic Charities of Baltimore serves over 300 children through the St. Jerome’s Head Start program in Baltimore, Maryland, employing nearly 40 teachers, the majority of whom are former Head Start parents. St. Jerome’s offers Head Start families a range of nearly twenty complementary services through a high level of community involvement, which has allowed it to survive sequestration cuts in a unique way. In September 2013, the Office of the Governor of Maryland informed Catholic Charities that it would partially replace the sequestration cuts to St. Jerome’s budget due to the incomparable value of Head Start programming and family services.
The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) Head Start programs provide services to over 3,200 children in nine California counties. CAPSLO runs a successful and innovative Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program throughout the Central Coast that offers both center-based and family child care options. When the sequester hit, CAPSLO chose to absorb the majority of their $1.3 million cut to Migrant and Seasonal services through reducing the number of days their centers remain open rather than reducing slots for children.
The Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy American Indian Tribe has administered the Passamaquoddy Head Start Program in Pleasant Point, Maine since 1993. The Passamaquoddy Child Development Center houses the Head Start and the Tribal child care center and serves thirty children from the Pleasant Point Reservation. The Passamaquoddy community is considered one of the most vibrant remaining centers of Algonquin culture in North America, and is the largest federally recognized Indian Tribe in New England. When sequestration cuts were implemented, tribal education and social service programs were seriously impacted. However, the tribe was able to maintain current levels of Head Start services by using available funds from their healthcare savings.
California: Photography by Keith Dunlop of San Luis Obispo, California.
Kentucky: Photography by Sarah Hoskins of Chicago, Illinois
Maine: Photography by Stephanie Ann Francis and Donald Soctomah of Indian Township, Maine
Maryland: Photography by William B. Plowman of Washington, DC
South Dakota: Photography by Angel White Eyes and Willie White of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Curators Without Borders (CWB) is a nonprofit organization that creates and implements dynamic and participatory educational exhibitions and public programming through partnerships with nonprofits, museums and international development organizations.