Slaughter Announces Multi-Million Dollar Grant for Head Start Programs
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) announced a five-year $6.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Action for a Better Community’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. This grant allows Action for a Better Community (ABC) to continue providing quality child care and education to over 1,400 children, infants, and pregnant women.
“Providing access to quality childcare and education is critical to the growth and health of the young mind and essential to ending the cycle of poverty that effects too many families in Rochester. As the fifth poorest city in the nation, investments in Head Start are vital to preparing kids for success in school and later in life. It’s also a good deal for taxpayers – every one dollar invested in early childhood education saves taxpayers as much as seven dollars later on. I am proud of the work at ABC is doing to support our community’s families,” said Rep. Slaughter.
Rep. Slaughter has been a consistent advocate for robust federal funding of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Slaughter supports the $1.5 billion increase in President Obama’s total budget request of $10.118 billion for Head Start in 2016, which includes $650 million for Early Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.
Last February, Slaughter announced that Action for a Better Community’s Clifford Avenue Head Start Center was saved from closure as a result of the omnibus funding bill which restored the 5.27% the across-the-board funding cuts, known as the sequester, to the Head Start Program at ABC. ABC’s Head Start program was hit with a cut of over $700,000 because of sequester. As a result, ABC announced that they would be forced to close the Clifford Avenue Head Start Center. Thanks to efforts led by Slaughter to restore the sequester cut and pass the omnibus spending bill, ABC not only restored their budget, but also received a 1.3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the omnibus. The Head Start program had not received a COLA since 2010. This effort allowed for over 210 children to continue attending the center and saved 33 jobs.
Since 1965, Head Start has provided services to more than 30 million. Head Start provides federal grants directly to local early-childhood education providers, who in turn run preschool classes for underprivileged children. Over a million children are taught by Head Start programs every year. Children can qualify for placement in Head Start if their family earns less than the poverty level (about $19,000 for a family of three), or if they meet a categorical eligibility requirement (for example, all foster children are eligible). Head Start is designed primarily for four and five year-olds, but Congress has also created Early Head Start, which serves pregnant women and children from birth to three years of age.
The purpose of Head Start is to improve the school readiness of low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development in a learning environment that supports children's growth in language, literacy, mathematics, science, social and emotional functioning, creative arts, and physical skills.
Action for a Better Community, Inc.
Action for a Better Community is a Community Action Agency that promotes and provides opportunity for low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient. ABC’s Head Start and Early Head Start program promotes school readiness of children ages birth to five. ABC’s Head Start Program supports eight centers, two of which are run by Ibero and Volunteers of America. Currently they provide direct services to 1,435 children: 135 early Head Start children, 76 early Head Start home-based services to children and pregnant women, and 1,224 Head Start children.