Local Head Start Escapes Being Closed By Government Shutdown - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Local Head Start Escapes Being Closed By Government Shutdown

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Some of the smallest Americans are also affected by the government shutdown. Today, hundreds of Head Start programs were notified that their funding has been cut off. Dee Griffin has information on how the shutdown will affect the local program.

Across the CSRA more than 14-hundred students attend Head Start schools like Clara E. Jenkins. Students are not only educated but given basic necessities. CSRA Head Start Director Ernestine Smith explains, "we provide breakfast and lunch and a snack. We have planned activities for learning. We insure that they have physical exams and dental exams and follow up exams."

But as the children sleep during nap time, national legislators have awaken concerns and fears over whether the programs will be stopped during the government shut down. Money to educate and feed the children comes from government funded annual grants that are given throughout the year.  While more than a dozen did not get their funds, the CSRA was told the money is available to continue operating across eleven counties.

Director Smith says the thought of not being able to educate some of the youngest residents of the area was a big concern.  "I just hesitate to think of them losing any opportunity for learning so that's what I'm really kind of upset about," she says.  

Closing the book on funding for Head Start would not only affect children, but, it could start a new chapter of problems for parents.  "Having them in school allows some of the parents to go to school. It allows some of them to do work. It allows them to do the required volunteering services that they have to do to meet for housing and things like that," Smith adds.

As lawmakers continue battling over big issues, Smith hopes they take time to consider these little people who are affected. "I would hope that people who are able to make a decision about it would think about the children," Smith concludes.  

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