The following statement should be attributed to Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director of the National Head Start Association.
Washington, DC – “With the government shutdown racing toward November 1, an additional 157 Head Start programs across 42 states* and one U.S. Territory** who will begin their grant year on November 1 are facing the very real threat of being unable to keep their doors open in the absence of a new year of federal funding. These 157 programs serve 86,000 at-risk children who rely on the comprehensive early learning services provided by Head Start.
Should Congressional inaction continue, those 86,000 children will join the almost 19,000 Head Start children whose access to Head Start may once again be lost when emergency funding to their programs runs out at the end of the October. Those 105,000 children facing lost access to Head Start join more than 57,000 vulnerable children who lost access to Head Start on March 1 of this year because of the federally mandated sequestration budget cuts.
Despite the enormous generosity of John and Laura Arnold, who extended emergency funding to programs with October 1 grants after the government shut down, and other state and local funding “angels”, there is simply no way private dollars can sustain the delivery of Head Start’s high-quality services. Our county's poorest children are unwitting and voiceless victims in Washington's untenable budget stalemate. Leaders in Washington simply must come together and find a workable budget solution that keeps America’s poorest children in their Head Start classrooms so each and every child can continue on a path toward kindergarten readiness and lifelong success."
*AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
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Additional information about the National Head Start Association can be found at www.nhsa.org