Kildee, Peters, Stabenow Announce $5.5 Million to Expand Flint Early Head Start
March 20, 2017
Funding Will Support Care and Learning Environments for Flint Children Following Water Crisis
Congressman Dan Kildee, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $2.3 million to Genesee County and $3.2 million to the Genesee Intermediate School District to support expanded Early Head Start for children in the Flint area through their Early Head Start Child Care Partnership programs.
“Early education like Head Start is one of the most important investments that we can make to help children overcome lead exposure,” Congressman Kildee said. “It is critical that we invest in wrap-around services for Flint families as they recover from this crisis, including educational, nutritional and developmental support. Flint is a strong community and I know that our families and children can overcome lead exposure if they get the resources they need to succeed.”
“The children of Flint have been particularly impacted by the water crisis given their vulnerability to the long-term damaging effects of lead exposure,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to help announce this funding that will expand access to critical medical, nutritional and educational support services for Flint infants and toddlers to ensure they receive the care and resources they need to live happy and healthy lives.”
“Today’s announcement is another important step in ensuring that children affected by the water crisis in Flint have the long-term support they need,” said Senator Stabenow. “Good nutrition, medical care and early childhood education can make all the difference in helping Flint’s children succeed.”
Early Head Start Child Care Partnership programs offer developmental screenings and referrals to medical, dental, nutrition, vision and mental health services, and provide necessities including diapers and formula. Partnership sites receive additional resources to support training and professional development for staff, and improve facilities and upgrade supplies and equipment.
Last year, Peters, Stabenow and Kildee introduced legislation to expand Head Start and Early Head Start enrollment for Flint kids exposed to lead. In March of 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a one-time, $3.6 million grant to expand Head Start and Early Head Start services for preschoolers affected by Flint’s lead contaminated water supply.
Head Start programming is administered by local public and private nonprofit and for-profit agencies and includes child learning services in reading, math and science; nutritious meals; health and developmental screenings; oral and mental health support; behavioral and special needs services and family services.