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White Mountain Apache Tribe Head Start Granted $1M In Federal Funding

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $1 million grant to the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Head Start Program. It comes as such programs have become increasingly critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The funding is part of nearly $11 billion approved by Congress last summer for Head Start programs nationwide. It’s intended to help expand early childhood education and support services for low-income families.

The White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Head Start Program currently enrolls 155 children. Its director welcomes the $1.1 million federal grant. But she says the program still desperately needs new facilities that are expected to cost about $26 million.

According to Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran, about 19,000 Arizona families utilized Head Start programs statewide last year. Dozens of members of Congress have called on House leadership for an additional $1.7 billion for Head Start in future federal COVID relief legislation. They say the pandemic has created added challenges and additional costs for programs throughout the country.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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