The Massachusetts Head Start program is seeking $15 million to help children and families across the state.
This money would help to provide childcare services for low-income residents as well as employing members of the community.
Springfield resident and Head Start member Farrika Kro shared her story of raising children and trying to go to school without access to affordable childcare.
A problem she said she had until Head Start stepped in, “Once you know what Head Start does, then people are all for it. It’s just getting the message out there that we do offer comprehensive services and we are wrap-around services for the family, that you can grow with Head Start. Most of our teachers and staff were Head Start parents,” said Kro.
Kro went on to get her Masters Degree, and purchase her first home which she said wouldn’t have been possible without Head Start.
This monetary push is part of a statewide initiative to match federal Head Start funding.
Executive Director of Head Start Massachusetts Michelle Haimoitz told 22News, “So Head Start guarantees receive federal funding to do the program this year, about $140 million, but that money comes with a bit of a catch. For every $1 in federal funding the programs get, they have to raise about 20% in a non-federal match.”
If the state’s Head Start program does not raise their 20 percent, they could be denied federal funding, leaving children and families without adequate resources.
Head Start members visited lawmakers to share their personal stories and ask for more funding, in the hopes of giving every family in the Commonwealth a chance to succeed.