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.