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Senate Passes $250 Million Increase for Head Start

August 24, 2018

Earlier today, the United States Senate passed its Fiscal Year 2019 funding package for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.  The bill, which also included funding for the Department of Defense, includes a $250 million increase for Head Start in order to meet the rising costs of high-quality services for our nation’s most vulnerable children and their families. The bill will head to a conference committee with the United States House of Representatives.  

WASHINGTON, DC, August 23, 2018 – The Head Start community applauds the U.S. Senate for passage of the FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill today, which includes a $250 million increase above last year’s funding level for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
 
"With the passage of the FY 2019 Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill, the U.S. Senate has made a powerful statement about the importance of children and families, the Head Start workforce, and Head Start’s ability to meet the needs of working families. This marks progress towards our shared belief that investment in children today will lead to the betterment of generations to come,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Leahy have done a remarkable job of shepherding this bill through, and the Head Start community is grateful for the priority placed on early childhood education. We look forward to working with both the Senate and the House to build on this first step towards supporting  the country’s most vulnerable children and families.”

The bill provides a total of $10.1 billion for Head Start which is a $250 million increase, including an additional $35 million towards extending in-class hours for children and $215 million towards workforce investment. This increase will enable local programs to better support teachers and staff while also making critical progress towards providing additional classroom hours to meet the needs of working families and fulfill a 2021 mandate.

The House of Representatives has not yet considered the FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill; however, an approved committee draft includes a $50 million increase for Head Start from the FY 2018 funding level.  As the early childhood community turns its attention to the House and conference of the bill, Vinci notes, “Even with today’s victory, Head Start programs continue to face growing, critical needs related to the opioid epidemic. While there is no one solution to this crisis, early childhood programs are at the forefront of supporting impacted children and families, and multigenerational programs, like Head Start, have a proven model of intervention that can—and should—be expanded now. We look forward to working with Congress to continue to support the country’s most vulnerable children and families.”