Early childhood programs have already felt the sting of funding cut-offs resulting from the federal government shutdown. Most dramatically, thousands of low-income children were turned away from their Head Start programs last week when seven programs in six states had to close without notice. Although a generous private donation recently ensured that these Head Start programs could reopen and staved off the imminent shuttering of several additional Head Start grantees, only the restoration of government funding will fully remove the threat of future closures in Head Start and other vital early childhood programs.
The Coalition on Human Needs has organized three nationwide call-in days (beginning today, Wednesday, October 9) for constituents to urge their representatives to end the government shutdown. We hope you’ll consider calling your representatives today. If the shutdown continues, these early childhood programs are among those that stand to be affected:
Head Start: According to the National Head Start Association, Head Start programs serving over 86,000 children could lose access to funding if the shutdown continues past November 1. These programs are in 41 U.S. states and one U.S. territory.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): This program, which close to 9 million women rely on to access food, formula, and services such as breast-feeding support, may be in danger of cutting off services at the end of the month. According to WIC’s website, the program serves over half of all infants born in the U.S.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): According to a contingency plan released by the Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service, the CACFP will continue operations into October but only “limited carryover funding” will be available for further reimbursements until an appropriation is enacted. Nationally, the Food Research and Action Center states that the CACFP provided meals and snacks to 3.4 million children daily in 2012. Close to 128,000 family child care providers use CACFP.
For the anticipated effects of the shutdown on Connecticut grant programs, please see a description of the shutdown’s impact from the Connecticut General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal analysis. You can learn more about the shutdown’s national impacts on child care and early education programs in this summary from CLASP.
If you want to see the government shutdown end before even more women, children, and families are affected, please call your representatives today. More details on the call-in are available through the Coalition on Human Needs website.