Group fights budget cuts on Head Start

4:50 PM, Aug 8, 2013   |    comments
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MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA9) -- A group called Fair Share, armed with 6000 petitions, is delivering them to Senator Tim Kaine's Manassas office with a message to Congress.  

They are out to stop what they see as an outrage. Sequestration, that indiscriminate budget cutting axe is set to come down hard on the neediest of the needy, the children who attend Head Start. In Virginia that means 800 disadvantaged children won't be headed to preschool.

Samantha Cruz is able to work because her 15-month-old daughter Bella is in an Early Head Start program which serve birth to 3-year-old's.  Northern Virginia Family Service runs this program and has figured out how not to cut any of the slots here but the Head Start program for older children, run by Prince William County, may have to turn away at-risk kids next month. 

"If someone can't watch them, they can't go to work, they can't put food on the table, so that's going to make it extremely difficult," said Samantha. 

Head Start is much more than a daycare program.  It is a federally funded pre-school program that provides education and meals for children who may not have enough food to eat at home. 

Kim Williams is an advocate for children and families and a member of the VA head Start Association.  She is worried about the children and their families if the cuts take effect.   

"Knowing what I know after 14 years with Head Start I can tell you that there are children who will be hungry. There are families who will not have enough food their family. There are children who will start kindergarten not speaking English, not knowing any English," said Williams.  

For the children left out, and unable to afford private preschool, they won't have a Head start and may always be behind.  

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