Reconciliation package lacks critical funding for Head Start, early child education and care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate and House are sending a reconciliation package that lacks critical funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and early child education and care to the White House to be signed into law. In response, National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci made the following statement:

While Congress is steering support toward American families and households through the Inflation Reduction Act, the proposal falls short in our nation’s commitment to the success of our at-risk children and families. Despite more than 30 percent of Head Start programs reporting having to shut down classrooms due to lack of staff and the clear research proving the importance of high-quality early care and education, the proposal omits critical and much needed support for early care and education, including a long overdue reset on teacher compensation. We can’t afford to miss this opportunity to stabilize our workforce and ensure low-income families have access to reliable, high-quality learning options for their children through Head Start.

Programs everywhere in our nation have faced closing classrooms due to lack of staff. We also know inadequate compensation is the primary driver for the labor shortage in early childhood education. Now is the time to ask ourselves: how can our country move forward without a high-quality workforce to care for and teach our children? The answer is simple: we can’t make progress until Congress delivers stabilizing compensation funding. And they must do so as soon as possible, before more communities fall behind.

That’s why it’s even more critical, in the short term, for Congress to pass an FY23 appropriations package with robust funding for Head Start. The Head Start community is tremendously grateful for the leadership of Chairwoman DeLauro, Vice Chairwoman Clark, Chairwoman Murray, and Chairman Leahy in providing record levels of quality improvement funding and a well-reasoned cost of living adjustment that keeps up with rising costs and inflation. We strongly urge Congress to pass the $1.1 billion dollar investment currently in the FY23 House bill so we can begin to address the systemic issues harming the children and families who Head Start serves.

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