Local Head Start Program Gets $1.5M Grant, But Still Needs $600K

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The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County will receive a $1.5 million grant for its Head Start program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

However, the local agency will have to end the pre-school program early if it doesn't get the rest of the money it's expecting.

The grant was announced Wednesday by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens.

The grant represents 70 percent of the total $2.1 million HHS has allocated for CAPC's Head Start program. 

CAPC Executive Director Melinda Gault said Head Start still needs the remaining $600,000 to keep the program in operation until the first week in June.

Gault said the program could end earlier in the spring if CAPC doesn't get the money.

However, she's hopeful the Obama Administration will continue to support early childhood and education programs.

"We remain positive about receiving the balance of 30 percent in the near future," she said.

The federal government already cut Head Start's funding by 5 percent, which led CAPC to start the program a week later than usual in September.

Head Start is a federally-funded preschool program for children of low-income families.

CAPC operates Head Start centers in Watertown, Carthage, Dexter, Adams Center and Antwerp.

The organization also provides Head Start options that combine in-class instruction with home visits.

This year, 257 children are enrolled in Head Start through CAPC.

On average, CAPC Head Start employs 66 people annually.

Congressman Owens calls the initial Head Start grant a positive sign. 

He says he will be working to get the program the rest of the funding it needs. 
 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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