One billion dollars will be put back into Head Start Programs across the nation.
Cuts to Head Start last year meant slashing parts of the program. But now that funds are coming back, plans are looking up. There is still some uncertainty, though.
Oacac Head Start closed 5 classrooms throughout the 10 southwest Missouri counties it serves and 45 employees were let go. Although the staff is relieved that they will be receiving additional funding, administrators say the government's decision to take away and add funding has some staff in fear of their jobs and has hurt the recruiting process. Never the less, they say the additional funding is greatly needed.
A community assessment process will take place to see where to add classrooms back and half of the funding will go to early head start expansion. "Early Head Start serves a fraction of the income eligible population and we know the earlier that we can reach families and children the better their chances for success, so I'm thrilled about that. I'm also thrilled to look at time of rebuilding for Head Start rather than focusing on cuts that we have been having to deal with for the last several years", states Oacac Head Start Program Director Kimberly Shinn-Brown.
Administrators are unaware of when they will receive this additional funding but they're looking forward to assisting more children.