More Info On Head Start Program Cuts

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August 23, 2013 — Numbers out this week show automatic federal budget cuts have eliminated more than 700 slots from Indiana’s Head Start programs.  As StateImpact Indiana’s Kyle Stokes reports, each of the federally-funded preschool programs has handled the cuts differently:

The numbers could have been worse for Indiana Head Start programs.  The Obama administration predicted the state’s Head Start programs would lose as many as 1,000 slots when automatic sequestration cuts took effect in March.

Every Head Start program gets federal funding, but is locally-controlled.  Some programs have cut staff.  Some have cut transportation.  And some have available cuts slots for students.  Across the country, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says Head Start programs have had to turn away 57-thousand children under the age of 5.  18-thousand employees nationally have lost their jobs.

The program has its skeptics — a federal report last December showed the benefits of Head Start tend to taper off by third grade.  But Indiana does not provide a state-run preschool program.  That leaves Head Start as the only workable pre-K option for many low-income families in the state, who faced long waiting lists for the programs even before the cuts.   For StateImpact Indiana, I’m Kyle Stokes.


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