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Head Start Welcomes Boost in Federal Funding

March 22, 2018

Bipartisan Agreement Includes $610 Million Increase for FY 2018


WASHINGTON, DC – The Head Start community welcomed a significant increase in federal funding when a bipartisan funding agreement for fiscal year 2018 was released last night by Congressional leadership.

"After months of stalemate and shutdowns in Congress, the Head Start community welcomes this significant increase in funding for a foundational American program that gives nearly one million of our most vulnerable children a Head Start in life every year,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “This increase will mean that programs can better support teachers and staff, more children will have access to full-day, full-year early child education, and more infants and toddlers will start off life with the Head Start advantage. As Congress turns its attention to the next funding cycle, we look forward to working with our allies to build on this progress so even more children and families have access to the window of opportunity Head Start provides.”

The negotiated omnibus FY 2018 appropriations bill released late Wednesday night includes $9.853 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, a $610 million increase over FY 2017 funding. The bill includes:

  • $216 million for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Head Start staff (approximately a 2.2% increase, which is in line with inflation)
  • $260 million for partial day, partial-year programs to extend the duration of their services to better meet the needs of working families
  • $755 million for Early Head Start Expansion and Child Care Partnerships (a $115 million increase over FY 2017).

This is on the heels of $650 million appropriated by Congress in February to meet the recovery needs of Head Start programs impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The FY 2018 agreement is expected to pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the President within the next couple of days.