Shutdown Will Deny Even More Preschoolers Access To Head Start


With the government shut down, some programs that are expecting grant money in October may have to wait to get it until the government reopens, including 23 Head Start programs. The impact will vary by program, but some face the possibility of needing to shut down. The problem jeopardizes access for nearly 19,000 low-income preschoolers in the effected programs.

Local news reports indicate that some already shuttered their doors on Tuesday morning. Nine centers in Florida were closed, impacting 400 children and about 100 staff members. Two others, which serve 264 children, were put on alert that they might have to close this week. Come Friday, 864 students will see their classes cancelled in South Carolina. Programs in Alaska, which serve 1,761, could shut down.

If the shutdown lasts into November, other programs that expect to see grant money then could also face closure, such as in Colorado, Illinois, and Connecticut.

These closures come on top of the massive cuts the program has experienced from sequestration. More than 57,000 children are already losing their Head Start slots this year. Centers are also reducing the days and hours they are open — 1.3 million calendar days and 18,000 hours will be lost.