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Statement on the Potential Shutdown of the Federal Government Shutdown Threatens to Again Displace 19,000 Head Start Children

September 23, 2015

The following statement should be attributed to Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director of the National Head Start Association.

“Tens of thousands of Head Start children are again on the edge of suffering devastating flashbacks. Two years ago, access to Head Start programs was threatened for as many as 19,000 vulnerable children when the Federal Government was shut down because Congress was at budget impasse.

Just two years later, Washington’s budget battles are once again threatening to displace more than 19,000 of America’s most at-risk children. If the Federal Government is shut down on October 1, 23Head Start grantees across 10 states and Puerto Rico, risk accessing federal funding critical to the delivery of Head Start’s comprehensive early learning services.

We know from experience that a shutdown will have real consequences. When Head Start doors close, many low-income parents must miss work and school as they scramble to find alternative child care. They rely on Head Start to provide nutritious meals, medical screenings and early learning opportunities to prepare their children for Kindergarten.

We are hopeful our elected officials will not forget lessons learned and will get the nation’s fiscal house in order to ensure no Head Start child experiences an interruption on their path to Kindergarten readiness. Our elected officials simply must find sustainable fiscal solutions that protect, preserve and promote quality early learning opportunities like Head Start.”