Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that the congressional budget agreement, which is set for a vote this week, will increase funding for Head Start by $1 billion. Senator Casey has joined teachers and parents from across the state to urge Congress to dedicate more resources to Head Start. Previous cuts due to the sequester kept vulnerable children from accessing this critical early learning program.
“Head Start gives children the buildings blocks they need to succeed in the classroom and eventually in the workplace,” Senator Casey said. “I’m pleased that Congress has dedicated more resources to Head Start so that more children in Pennsylvania can have access to early learning. Investing in Head Start and early learning provides the foundation for our nation’s future economy and I’ll continue to press the Administration and Congress on these critical investments.”
The $1 billion provided in the budget agreement includes $500 million to expand Early Head Start, which serves infants and toddlers under the age of 3. This funding may also be used for establishing Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, a new initiative to improve the quality of child care. These partnerships are a component of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (S. 1697), legislation cosponsored by Senator Casey to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children.
The text of Senator Casey’s letter to Congressional leaders urging funding for Head Start can be found below:
Dear Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:
I write to request that you work together to find a common-sense alternative to sequestration. The evidence is mounting that this method of addressing our budget issues is having dire consequences, especially on our Nation’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens: low-income children enrolled in Head Start.
Today, I visited the Luzerne County Head Start program, which has been forced to cut 32 places from its Head Start program and 17 places from its Early Head Start program. These 49 children are among the 2,812 seats that have been cut from Pennsylvania’s Head Start program as a result of sequestration. Nationwide over 57,000 children have lost the opportunity to participate in Head Start.
It is critical for Congress to develop a comprehensive strategy to address deficit reduction. Although I sincerely believe we must work to get our fiscal house in order, I also believe it is necessary to solidify the ongoing economic recovery and protect our communities. Cuts to crucial programs, such as Head Start, pose too much harm to the prospects of our Nation’s children. As such, I ask you to prioritize working together to find a balanced and reasonable approach to solving sequestration.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator