Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP (WSA) Applauds COVID Aid Package.
Head Start Receives $1 Billion to Support
Our Most at Risk Children and Families
The Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP (WSA) is delighted that President Biden signed the COVID aid package into law today. We also applaud Washington State’s very own Senator Patty Murray, the assistant Senate Democratic leader, and other Congressional champions for their work to include $1 billion to support Head Start children and families impacted by the pandemic. This funding is needed relief for Head Start programs, serving our most at risk children and families. Programs have reported a 20% increase in costs during the pandemic according to national survey data.
Throughout the pandemic, children furthest from opportunity have been depending on Head Start’s rigorous academic preparation, individualized learning, and family engagement services. Programs have been providing a combination of modified at-home programming and on-site care. As of last month, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services, half of the state of Washington’s children enrolled in Head Start are being served on-site or by a hybrid model. Head Start programs have truly been a lifeline for families with young children.
Today, in Washington, Head Start serves 15,770 three and four year-old children — most of whom are well below the poverty level. In fact, more than 10% of the children served by Head Start are homeless and a third of the families are living on incomes below $14,000 for a family of four. About 66% of the state’s Head Start preschoolers are children of color. And we know from an early look at a survey we are currently conducting that many of the families served by Head Start are facing increased housing and food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.
The National Head Start Association estimates that Washington State will receive more than $18 million to support Head Start children and families or about $1,160 per child. The funding will ensure that Head Start programs are able to offer lower and safer teacher to child ratios, and have the funds necessary for families’ technology needs, personal protective equipment for staff and mental health supports for children experiencing increased trauma to list just a few critical needs.
To learn more about how Head Start programs are supporting families during the pandemic, please contact Joel Ryan at Joel@wsaheadstarteceap.com or via cell at (253) 486-9077 or Katy Warren at Katy@wsaheadstarteceap.com or via cell at (206) 291-2021. We would be pleased to connect you to your local Head Start programs.
About Us: The Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP (WSA) is a membership organization made up of Head Start and ECEAP providers. We advocate for high quality early learning in Olympia and in DC. You can learn more about us on our website at www.wsaheadstarteceap.com