If budget talks in Washington do not produce a solution to the federal budget deficit, across-the-board funding cuts will go into effect March 1, and Rochester's Head Start program will feel the impact.
James Norman, President and CEO of Action for a Better Community, says the local Head Start program could face an 8 % decrease in federal funding if the cuts take place. Head Start, which provides cognitive, emotional and social development for children aged 0 to 5 to prepare them for school, offers both partial and full-day programs locally. Rochester's Head Start program currently serves 1,435 children per day; 1,234 in regular Head Start, and 211 in the early Head Start program.
Norman says if the funding cuts are implemented that would mean 150 children currently enrolled in the programs will no longer be able to attend. He said if cuts are to be made, they would go in reverse order of a list prioritizing children whose parents are homeless or incarcerated, children who have been referred by Child Protective Services, or children whose parents are currently working outside the home.