Fran Forman, executive director of the Community Action Commission, has announced the reinstatement of federal funds that were cut in last year’s “sequester” to CAC’s Santa Barbara County Head Start program.
Funds were restored to Head Start in the new federal budget, which was passed by the Senate on Jan. 16.
CAC Head Start can now begin serving the 53 children in Santa Barbara County who were cut from the program in 2013. The majority of the 53 restored spaces for children will be in the Santa Maria and Lompoc areas, where the program has the longest waiting lists.
Head Start serves a total of 1,098 children countywide, and ensures that each year over 600 children enter kindergarten prepared to learn. The program places great emphasis on the parents’ role in supporting their children’s education.
Federal funds cover 80 percent of the cost of a Head Start education. The remaining 20 percent must be raised locally, and include the value of volunteer time. The program offers full-day programs for working parents as well as part-day preschool programs.
Mattie Gadsby, director of CAC Children’s Services, said, “I would like to thank our many supporters who let Congress know how important the program is to families and children. Our local supporters also contacted the program during the sequester, asking how they could help — and parents increased their volunteer hours to make sure that centers were clean and in good repair, among other contributions of time and talent.”
“We are grateful that our community and Congress saw this as a priority investment," Forman said.
CAC is a private, nonprofit agency serving over 10,000 low-income people annually through a variety of programs designed to help Santa Barbara County families achieve stability.
For more information, contact Gadsby at 805.964.8857 x156.
— Elizabeth Lee is a grant writer for the Community Action Commission.