House Appropriations Committee Takes Monumental Step in Strengthening Head Start

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Head Start Association (NHSA) applauds the House Appropriations Committee for including a record-level of funding in the FY22 Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, following Committee passage today. With a new, high-water investment of $12.2 billion, this funding meaningfully addresses long-standing priorities for Head Start programs—workforce sustainment, Quality Improvement Funding for trauma-informed care, and extended duration.

“We are incredibly pleased that the House Appropriations Committee has advanced an FY2022 spending plan that bolsters the Head Start workforce, addresses growing and compounded childhood trauma, and extends program duration for programs and families desperate for more hours of care and support,” says NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “Most of all, we are pleased by the increasing awareness among decision makers that Head Start is an indispensable, proven model of intervention and support for at-risk children and families. Federal support for Head Start is not only a wise investment in times of crisis—this kind of sustained funding will build capacity to meet community needs in the long run.”

The FY22 bill and report include increases above base funding for key line items important to Head Start, including:

  • $234,000,000 for a cost-of-living adjustment
  • $200,000,000 for programs to expand program hours of service
  • $250,000,000 in quality improvement funding for programs to increase services for mental health professionals to provide expert care and counseling to families and the Head Start workforce; provide staff training on trauma-informed approaches to service delivery; and add staff to Head Start classrooms
  • $750,000,000 to expand Head Start and Early Head Start programs for eligible children and families
  • $8,000,000 for the Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU)-Head Start Partnership Program

Committee passage of this important funding legislation is a positive step towards strengthening early childhood education across the country. NHSA continues to call on Congress to prioritize Head Start, support young families and children, and build on the success of this critical program as the appropriations process moves forward.

“Decades of independent research have shown that Head Start works, and families and children desperately need what Head Start has to offer,” said Vinci. “Expanding Head Start must be the top policy priority of any expansion of a federal investment in pre-kindergarten.”

To read more about Head Start’s recommendations to Congress and the Administration on expanding pre-kindergarten access through Head Start, download NHSA’s “Start with Head Start” white paper.

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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