Head Start Applauds Congressional Champions for Pandemic Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Head Start Association (NHSA) applauded the more than 125 members of Congress who reaffirmed their commitment to America’s at-risk children and families by urging the inclusion of $1.7 billion in additional funding for Head Start in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package. In total, 129 members of the U.S. House of Representatives-both Republicans and Democrats-signed onto the letter to House leadership, led by Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and Congressman John Katko (R-NY), requesting that Congress meet the critical increased funding needs of local Head Start programs that are directly attributable to COVID-19.

“The nearly one million Head Start children and families and 270,000 staff thank Congresswoman Titus and Congressman Katko for their leadership and our other congressional champions for their support at this critical time,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “When much of the world shut down due to COVID-19, Head Start stepped up for families to make sure nutritional, educational, and emotional needs continued to be met. Now, as programs look to reopen and parents return to work, programs are confronting unavoidable costs in their work to deliver Head Start’s high-quality, comprehensive services safely. Head Start’s congressional champions have recognized Head Start as a stabilizing force for families and communities, and we thank them for joining together in support of meeting Head Start’s funding needs.”

Based on extensive surveying of Head Start providers by NHSA, an additional $1.7 billion is needed nationwide for Head Start programs to operate amidst COVID-19 and deliver quality early education, emotional support, virtual classrooms, and safe, open facilities to the more than one million children and families who are served annually.

In the letter to their congressional colleagues, the signatories stated, “Because of Head Start’s unique federal-to-local model, Head Start programs have been able to continue services to children and families in communities that are hurting the most. But as the pandemic drags on, these programs are in urgent need of funding to afford PPE and increased janitorial services, facility modifications, additional staffing and operational model changes, distance learning and virtual classroom software and services, staff technology upgrades, and strengthened mental health support.”

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is 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 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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