FY24 House Funding Level Will Deprive a Generation of American Children the Opportunity to Succeed in School and in Life (Updated)

Update Notice: Following deeper analysis, the press release published on July 13, 2023, has been updated to factor in the impact of inflation, which is estimated at 3.0% as of June 2023.

Washington, D.C.The House Committee on Appropriations released their Fiscal Year 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Mark which includes $11,246,820,000 for Head Start and Early Head Start which represents a $750,000,000 reduction from the current FY23 funding level, among other significant cuts to critical services for children and families. Roughly 80,000 Head Start and Early Head Start children would no longer be able to receive services under the proposed House Appropriations bill. This includes a 6.25% direct cut in funding as well as the impact of inflation, estimated at 3.0% as of June 2023.

National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci made the following statement:

Make no mistake, the proposed FY24 House funding level will prevent roughly 80,000 children and their families from accessing Head Start and Early Head Start’s high-quality life-changing services. It will stop critical health screenings for families living below the poverty line. It will upend desperately needed investments in the Head Start workforce as qualified and credentialed staff will be forced to leave the field–an existing challenge even with current funding levels that would only be exacerbated. It will break decades of bipartisan support and collaboration for Head Start. Finally, the bill will curtail the availability of child care options for military and veteran families, families experiencing homelessness, and children in the foster care system.

Congress only needs to look around to find Head Start programs in nearly every district with long waiting lists; communities large and small increasingly dependent on Head Start for bridging to Kindergarten; families of every stripe desperate for early childhood education options, particularly in rural communities where no other child care options exist; children, especially post-COVID, woefully behind in social interaction, health check-ups, and learning interventions; and surging instances of childhood depression, anxiety, trauma, and behavioral challenges.

I implore Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member DeLauro to please reconsider the current approach and put forward a sensible, pro-growth strategy for Head Start, Early Head Start, working families, and our nation’s treasure, our children.”

A state by state breakdown about the impact of these cuts on Head Start and Early Head Start children and families can be found here.

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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