Head Start Appreciates President’s FY24 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Head Start Association (NHSA) recognizes the commitment of support and funding in this year’s budget proposal from the President’s desk. The proposal increases funding for Head Start programs by over 9% for a total of $13.1 billion. Included in the proposed increase is funding dedicated to boost pay for Head Start teachers and staff.

“The Head Start workforce has faced decades of neglect and underfunding. Poverty-level wages—compounded by the complexity and emotional strain of this important work—has made recruiting and retaining qualified professionals incredibly difficult,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “We are deeply appreciative–and, frankly, relieved–to see how this budget proposal begins to embrace funding solutions to move toward stabilizing the Head Start workforce while focusing on long-term workforce sustainability.”

Current levels of Head Start funding are inadequate to pay competitive salaries commensurate with education and experience. The early learning workforce, including Head Start, ranks in the lowest 10% of professions for compensation, threatening the stability and ability of Head Start programs to properly serve a maximum number of children.

“The leaders of our nation must address the systemic workforce challenges in order for Head Start to continue providing the high-quality services the families’s success depends upon,” Vinci continued. “The Head Start budget must sustain and support the workforce; provide flexibility to address local quality improvement priorities; and address the epidemic of childhood trauma. All this while restoring critical purchasing power and managing deferred maintenance issues and facility constraints. Only then can we, as a nation, prepare our children for success in school and life, empower working parents, and ensure that early learning provides better outcomes for all Americans.”

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 840,000 children and families from systemically underserved populations, 250,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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