The association that represents Pennsylvania's Head Start Program providers is out with a new summary of how sequester cuts will hurt programs for low-income children in the coming year.
This according to the Pennsylvania Head Start Association:
"Head Start programs were informed by the Office of Head Start on April 26th, 2013 that their funding was to be cut 5.27% because of budget sequestration. It is now possible to offer greater detail of how sequestration will impact Head Start programs in in Pennsylvania. Head Start federal funding in Pennsylvania is over $256.5M, and the 5.27% cuts will remove move than $13.5M in funding, at a time when our state economy is fragile. Pennsylvania’s federally funded Head Start programs serve more the 31,000 children and their families every year. The cuts to funding will potentially eliminate over 1500 children from Head Start programs in Pennsylvania by the end of the year.
Pennsylvania’s Head Start programs have been working with their parents, staff, policy councils and boards to determine the best way to implement the cuts in their program. They have begun to finalize decisions and let their local communities know how the cuts will impact their programs. The cuts are being implemented with thought and care by Head Start. Some programs have had more time to plan and implement their cuts, while other program’s cuts are more immediate and visible, i.e. the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Association in Pittsburgh closed for the year on April 22,nd 2013. "
In the Lehigh Valley, Community Services for Children spokeswoman Sara George said the social services agency expects to lose $447,664 in federal funding.
"We are still finalizing exactly how we will make these cuts to be absorbed over the next 11 months (our program year begin April 1) while keeping high quality and minimizing disruptions to currently enrolled children," she said in an email. "Tentatively, we expect to reduce our Head Start federal enrollment by 60 children beginning this fall. This is a reduction of 3 classrooms."
Early Head Start programs for children between the ages of 0-3 will be cut by 20 slots.
The agency will also have to cut back on staffing and other expenses, but those details are still being worked out, she said.
It all means that even fewer children who are eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start services in the Lehigh Valley will receive them, she said. Pre-sequester, Community Services for Children was able to serve 1,221 of the 6,500 eligible children. Under the sequester, that will drop to 1,142.