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COVID-19 Relief Uplifts Head Start in Drive to Address Child Poverty

March 3, 2021

FY21 budget reconciliation bill recognizes Head Start’s critical role in addressing child poverty

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Head Start Association (NHSA) today underscored the critical importance of the $1 billion for Head Start that the U.S. House of Representatives included in their FY21 budget reconciliation bill, which passed on February 27th. NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci encouraged the Senate to pass the bill and applauded several elements of the legislation, including funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, which directly address the needs of children and families living in poverty.

“Head Start was born out of the Civil Rights Movement as a tool to disrupt intergenerational poverty,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “More than five decades into this work, we know Head Start is successful in this mission. As we aim to heal from COVID-19, we must prioritize the needs of children and families living in poverty who have been increasingly destabilized by the devastating effects of COVID-19. Just as Head Start has done for over 55 years, this bill stands by the families who have been hardest hit this past year.”

Vinci continued, “An additional $1 billion will enable Head Start to maintain its standard-setting services, which now include increased cleaning procedures, smaller class sizes, and facility adaptations. As we look to address child poverty in the wake of COVID-19, Head Start stands ready to support lasting change. We look forward to working with our many champions in Congress to see this legislation advance, so that these essential resources can provide a much-needed lifeline to families living on the edge, many of whom are Black and Latino.”

In addition to Head Start funding, the legislation includes critical funding that will support the stabilization of the child care sector, stimulus checks, and renewed federal unemployment benefits—all resources that provide much-needed support to families, especially those with young children.

The National Head Start Association is a non-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than one million children, 270,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Visit www.nhsa.org and follow @NatlHeadStart for more information.

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Contact: Tommy Sheridan, media@nhsa.org