WASHINGTON, DC – The National Head Start Association (NHSA) today applauded the introduction of the Head Start Extended Duration Grants Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, led by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D–OH) and Congressman Steve Stivers (R–OH) would provide funds for Head Start programs to extend their hours of operation, providing quality care and education for children and increased flexibility for working parents and caregivers.
"Now more than ever, children and families from at-risk backgrounds are relying on their Head Start programs to be a source of stability as they navigate life's challenges,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “The Head Start Extended Duration Grants Act will unleash the full potential of Head Start programs to create a nurturing and enriching learning environment for babies and young children, while also partnering with their parents to realize their professional and educational goals. Head Start applauds Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Congressman Steve Stivers for championing this legislation and empowering America's most vulnerable children and families to unlock their full potential."
With this bill, Congresswoman Fudge and Congressman Stivers, both long-time Head Start champions, answer calls from the Head Start community for support that meets the diverse needs of Head Start parents and caregivers. Providing expanded hours of service for children will support parents and caregivers in realizing their professional and educational goals.
The legislation introduced today also stands to benefit Head Start children by recognizing the value longer exposure to high-quality learning has for young children. The federal Head Start program has made strides to expand full-day, full-year programming in response to the evolving understanding and growing research base supporting it, but funding setbacks have hampered progress of late. This legislation follows the clear research and sets a focus on returning to efforts to extend in-class duration for Head Start children.
The Head Start Extended Duration Grants Act is especially important today, as many Head Start families are reeling from the health and economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congressman Stivers and Congresswoman Fudge’s bipartisan bill would provide critical resources for Head Start programs to increase their focus on supporting parents in economic stabilization and growth, while also meeting children’s learning needs through providing more in-class hours.
The National Head Start Association is a not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than one million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Visit www.nhsa.org and follow @NatlHeadStart for more information.
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