Protect the children from cuts
Your Aug. 22 article about federal sequestration cuts to Head Start programs in Vermont and across the country paint a grim picture for low-income families hoping to provide their children with a strong start in life. According to the latest numbers from the national Office of Head Start about the impact of sequestration, Vermont will lose an estimated $800,000 in Head Start funds; approximately 233 fewer children will be served; and more than 30 jobs will be lost.
We should all be concerned, and here’s why: Poverty remains the single greatest threat to child well-being and success, and the numbers are going in the wrong direction. In 2011, nearly 15 percent of children in Vermont were poor, as were 23 percent of children under age 6. We know that high-quality early learning systems help mitigate the effects of poverty and provide children with the early learning experiences they need for success in school and in life. Cuts to Early Start and Head Start programs significantly diminish a critical weapon in the ongoing fight to reduce poverty and improve outcomes for children in Vermont and nationwide.
As a member of the New England Consortium Poverty Reduction Initiative, a six-state collaborative of child advocacy organizations working to advance policies to reduce poverty and build opportunity for children and families across the region, Voices for Vermont’s Children has been calling on our federal leaders to replace sequestration, support the president’s early learning plan, and increase federal investment in early care and education programs.
We know our senators strongly support investment in early learning, and we hope they can help lead the way to replace sequestration and prioritize investment in quality early care and education for all our children.
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