By: Zoie Albrecht, Summer Government Affairs Intern
We are six months into the 116th Congress. How has Head Start fared so far in the United States House of Representatives?
July marks six months since the 116th Congress first convened in Washington D.C. As we look back on these first six months, this month offers a prime opportunity to reflect on the admirable work and strong bipartisan support shown towards Head Start by both new and returning members of Congress.
Looking at this Congress’ first six months, who has reaffirmed their commitment to America’s most vulnerable children?
Since this past January, strong efforts have been launched by leaders across the Head Start community to inspire new members of Congress to understand the immense value and unique approach of Head Start. Efforts launched by Head Start advocates over the last six months — including, more than 230 meetings with congressional staff and members of Congress, 1,300 letters to members, and numerous member visits to local Head Start centers — have been met with positive results.
Most notably, on June 19th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that includes more than $11.5 billion in funding for Head Start in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. With more than a $1.5 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2019, this recommendation signals a remarkable consensus in the understanding of the value of Head Start. Included in the increase is roughly $750 million dedicated specifically to supporting children and families who have experienced trauma.
The funding included in the House bill reflects the needs that were highlighted by two Dear Colleague letters written this winter. The letter led by Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) called out positive, long-term impacts of Head Start, the importance of its local flexibility…