Head Start Budget Request

$50 Million to support teachers, programs and families


Head Start California is seeking $50 million for Head Start programs in the FY 22-23 state budget to support the state’s goal of expanding access to early childhood care and learning to more families, ensuring children reach Kindergarten healthy and ready to learn, and prepare children to become proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade.

Head Start is far more than just a preschool program – it is a poverty intervention program that supports kids with vision, dental and hearing screenings, nutrition and mental health and offers parents connections to employment, housing and other services. Implemented in 1965, Head Start has over 50 years of experience serving the most vulnerable children and families, including homeless children, foster children and children with disabilities. And it works! Children enrolled in Head Start enter kindergarten better prepared, healthier and with stronger social-emotional skills and have better academic outcomes throughout their school years. They are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Head Start is a multi-generational program – parents of children enrolled in Head Start are more likely to increase their own education while their children are enrolled in the program than are other parents, spend more time reading to their children and have higher levels of self-sufficiency. (SOURCE)


But Head Start programs in California are struggling. Given California’s high cost of living, programs struggle to pay competitive wages to teachers and other staff. And, as California expands transitional kindergarten to serve a greater number of 4-year-olds, programs will need to invest funds to renovate facilities and recruit or retrain teachers to serve younger children, who have very different needs than preschoolers.

Without support to help Head Start programs in California meet these unique challenges, Head Start programs in many parts of the State may close, depriving families of an important support during an incredibly challenging time.
That is why we are asking Governor Newsom to dedicate ongoing funding to help support our neediest families and children. The proposed $50 million in 2022-23 will help Head Start, Early Head Start, Tribal Head Start and Migrant Head Start programs in California to:

  • Improve wages and benefits in order to recruit and retain our highly-qualified teachers.
  • Support transition to serve younger children through staff training and recruitment
  • Fund facilities acquisitions or improvement
  • Increase and improve outreach or marketing to reach more eligible families
How You Can Help

Contact your state legislators today and tell them how important Head Start is to you and why the budget request will help your program or your family. You can find information on how to contact your legislators here.

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Share your story with us! We will use the quotes and anecdotes you share to help us develop compelling messages to share with policymakers. You can fill out our form here to tell us your story.

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