NHSA Response to FY23 Continuing Resolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the continuing resolution (CR), that Congress passed today to prevent a government shutdown and provide funding through December 16, NHSA released the following statement:

“While we are glad that Congress has averted a government shutdown, we urge passage of a new bill for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) and not let the continuing resolution stretch past December for a second year in a row. Programs are struggling and it is critical to put the FY23 Cost-of-Living funds as well as the additional Quality Improvement Funds into the hands of Head Start programs as soon as possible,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “An extended or full-year CR would trap programs in outdated spending priorities and deprive the Head Start workforce of a COLA that is aligned with the actual rate of inflation.”

In June, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill that includes record funding for Head Start in FY23. The bill includes NHSA’s full Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) and Quality Improvement Fund (QIF) requests, as well as a significant increase in the Tribal Colleges and Universities-Head Start Partnership Program. In July, a draft appropriations bill released by Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) matched the key funding levels agreed to in the House.

“There is so much promise and opportunity in this year’s appropriations bills. We hope Congress and the Administration will do everything in their power to finalize this critical funding legislation as soon as possible,” said Vinci.

The early childhood 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. Likewise, with inflation having increased significantly in the past year, the Head Start workforce is actually losing ground during this fiscal year. The pay gap—both with the public schools and with entry level private-sector jobs in retail and the service industry—has resulted in an unprecedented turnover in Head Start.

“Our drumbeat continues: the leaders of our nation must address the systemic workforce challenges facing early childhood educators in order for Head Start to continue providing the high-quality services our families depend on,” said Vinci. “We strongly urge Congress to act quickly on a budget that continues the national commitment to Head Start children and families.”

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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