Sequestration Slams Early Childhood Programs

August 8, 2013
by Errolyn Gray, U.S. Anti-Poverty Policy Intern

While some may consider the effects of sequestration to be minimal, in reality, it has had a huge impact on the funding of scientific research, meals for the elderly, preparedness for natural disasters, and Head Start programs for children and their families. An article published today in The Huffington Post highlights the devastating effects of sequestration on Head Start programs. This must-read article, “Sequestration Pushes Head Start Families to the Precipice,” by Sam Stein depicts real life stories of the impacts of sequestration on Head Start programs in various communities. Due to the 5.27 percent cut to Head Start, programs have had to cut the number of children accepted into the programs, or worse, close down completely. Sixty-eight percent of providers will have to reduce the size of their classes. Actual reductions are expected to take place in the fall when parents hoping to enroll their children are turned away because no spaces are available.

Head Start has a wide range of benefits; cutting these programs will not just effect the present education of these children. It will also affect their ability to catch on and learn in the future, their social and cognitive skills, and their likeliness to be contributing members of society when they reach adulthood. Head Start provides more than just education for the children that it serves. It provides them with two hot meals a day, basic medical care, and transportation to and from school. Sequestration does not only affect children. It has led to children losing access to valuable educations, parents losing a healthy and mentally stimulating place to take their children as they work, and Head Start teachers losing their jobs. Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association, stated that her group anticipates that nationally 65,000 fewer Head Start slots will be available for children and 11,500 Head Start jobs will be lost.

Investing in our children is the best investment in our future. Urge your members of Congress to end sequestration and support investments in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care by using our

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