Head Start Expansion Initiative Will Help Children Learn, Parents Earn

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HHS News Release

HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala today announced a new Head Start initiative that will expand Head Start services for children while also helping parents on welfare move to work.

Under the initiative announced today, Head Start expansion funds will be used for the first time to build partnerships with child care providers to deliver full-day and full-year Head Start services. Full-day and full-year services, in turn, can help parents attain full-time work.

Through the Head Start-child care partnerships, Head Start and child care agencies combine staff and funds to provide high quality services. Children stay in one place all day, rather than attending Head Start for half a day and then moving to child care for the remainder of the day. In addition, the expansion funds will provide for increased Head Start slots for children. By the end of FY 1997, some 800,000 children are expected to be enrolled in Head Start, an increase of 50,000 from the beginning of the fiscal year.

Head Start programs provide early education and development, as well as health services, for children in low-income families.

"Head Start has historically had the goal of involving the family as a whole. It has sought not only to help the children in low-income families, but also to help the parents achieve self-sufficiency," said Secretary Shalala.

"Today, when welfare reform has made the move to work a national commitment, Head Start's twin goals are more important than ever," she added. "We need to give our children the start in life they deserve -- and we need to support parents who are moving to work. Our expansion grants can build new partnerships that will make these twin goals a reality for more families."

Congress approved President Clinton's full request to increase the Head Start budget by over $411 million for FY 1997. In addition to expanding total Head Start enrollment, the enhanced funding will also increase the number of infants and toddlers in the new Early Head Start program.

HHS designed the initiative announced today to build on the successes of dozens of local Head Start-child care partnerships, including the Full Start project of KCMC Child Development Corporation in Kansas City; the Settlement House Initiative in New York City; and the family child care network efforts of Puget Sound Educational Service District in Seattle.

"No longer will families have to choose between Head Start and a job," said Olivia Golden, principal deputy assistant secretary for children and families. "This is an extraordinary opportunity to use Head Start expansion funds in a timely, innovative and practical way to support healthy development and learning for young children and help families attain or maintain work."

The HHS Head Start Bureau will manage a national competition among local Head Start programs for the additional funds. Two additional open competitions will be held for new Early Head Start programs and to establish Head Start programs in previously unserved areas of the country. Other portions of the expanded Head Start funds will be used for statutorily mandated cost of living increases, quality improvement funds and expanded training and technical assistance.

Under the Clinton administration, funding for Head Start has grown $1.8 billion over the past five years, from $2.2 in FY 1992 to nearly $4 billion in FY 1997, an increase of more than 80 percent. These additional funds have enabled Head Start to serve 180,000 more children and their families, enhance the quality of Head Start services, launch a new initiative to serve infants and toddlers, and improve program research. President Clinton proposes continued investments to allow Head Start to grow to serve over one million children by the year 2002. Additional details about the Head Start expansion initiative are available on the internet at: www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/press/hsexpand.htm.

Contact: Michael Kharfen (202) 401-9215
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