In 2012, more than 6 million children under age six lived in poverty in America. Head Start served 1,146,468 children and pregnant women last year. In Ohio, Head Start served 49,702 children. 

Head Start is a national program that promotes the school-readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development, as well as providing health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments. Most Community Action Agencies in Ohio offer Head Start programs, but these programs have been hit hard by the sequestration.

Because of the $405 million in cuts nationally, 57,265 children will lose services and 18,000 staff will suffer job losses or pay cuts. In Ohio, 2,782 fewer children will be served this year and there will be 11,168 fewer days of service provided to the remaining children served. Many teachers will lose their jobs and transportation and other services and supplies will be cut, affecting those who need it most.

Following is the story of how Head Start helped one young boy at the Head Start provided by Lorain County Community Action Agency (LCCAA):

When Roseanne enrolled her son Sean in Head Start two years ago, he struggled to get along with other children. Head Start not only improved Sean’s  behavior, he gained important basic skills that prepared him for kindergarten.

“Sean learned so much,” Roseanne said. “How to write his first and last name, recognized numbers, shapes and colors.” She praised his teachers for working so well with Sean and said she was very impressed with all he learned.

“I recommend LCCAA Head Start to anyone with a preschool age child because my experience was absolutely positive,” Roseanne said. Head Start has had this kind of positive impact on millions of children nationwide. Since the program began in 1965, it has served 28 million low-income children, providing them with the skills needed to succeed in school. Please continue to show your support for this valuable program.

For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer Head Start programs.

Source: National Head Start Association, www.nhsa.org

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