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Biden gets support in his push for more Head Start funding

President Biden's 2024 budget would boost Head Start funding to $13 billion.
Posted at 4:09 PM, Apr 25, 2023

President Joe Biden wants to set aside billions for for Head Start programs. 

The money would benefit people like Delphina Jackson, who has three girls.

Her four-year-old daughter, Olivia, has autism and needs help with speech and other learning obstacles. 

"When you're a mom and then you have your third kid, you're like, 'Oh, I already know how to do this. But she's been completely different," Jackson said.

"I was having to take four hours off of work every Monday morning to take her to private speech and occupational therapy, but it was phenomenal in terms of what we were seeing developmental-wise, but I couldn't do it," Jackson added. 

Olivia is now in a Head Start program that supports low-income families. The program will provide Olivia with the services she was receiving prior to joining.

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 While Jackson is part of a success story, many families are having trouble finding a Head Start program. 

Heather Craiglow, who serves as the director in the Head Start Collaboration Office in Colorado, says many families are being priced out of programs in metro areas.

Craiglow believes that makes right now a crucial time to expand services.

"We're serving about 13,000 children in that birth to five space. However, without additional funding from the federal government, we're stalled at how many additional slots we can provide," she said.

President Biden's 2024 budget would boost Head Start funding to $13 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That's a 9% increase if the budget proposal passes. More than $500 million would be allocated to the salaries of Head Start teachers and staff. 

While it's a lot of money upfront, Craiglow says it could save Americans in the long term. 

"We're talking limiting or reducing incarceration rates," she claimed. "We're talking about reducing special education services. We're talking about additional services that families may need in the long run-- that are also supporting their children."

Jackson hopes the budget is approved so children like her own can benefit.

"I'm a huge proponent, you know, for funding for programs like this 'cause it's for the kids. Like, it's not about me,it's for my kids," she said.