Senate Passes $250 Million Increase for Head Start in FY19

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Head Start community applauds the U.S. Senate for passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) appropriations bill, which includes a $250 million increase above last year’s funding level for Head Start and Early Head Start programs in order to meet the rising costs of high-quality services for our nation’s most vulnerable children and their families.

“With the passage of the FY19 Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill, the Senate has made a powerful statement about the importance of children and families, the Head Start workforce, and Head Start’s ability to meet the needs of working families. This marks progress towards our shared belief that investment in children today will lead to the betterment of generations to come,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Leahy have done a remarkable job of shepherding this bill through, and the Head Start community is grateful for the priority placed on early childhood education. We look forward to working with both the Senate and the House to build on this first step towards supporting  the country’s most vulnerable children and families.”

The bill provides a total of $10.1 billion for Head Start which is a $250 million increase, including an additional $35 million towards extending in-class hours for children and $215 million towards workforce investment. This increase will enable local programs to better support teachers and staff while also making critical progress towards providing additional classroom hours to meet the needs of working families and fulfill a 2021 mandate.

The House has not yet considered the FY19 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill; however, an approved committee draft includes a $50 million increase for Head Start from the FY18 funding level.

“Even with today’s victory, Head Start programs continue to face growing, critical needs related to the opioid epidemic. While there is no one solution to this crisis, early childhood programs are at the forefront of supporting impacted children and families, and multigenerational programs, like Head Start, have a proven model of intervention that can—and should—be expanded now. We look forward to working with Congress to continue to support the country’s most vulnerable 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 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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