Sacramento, Calif. (January 10, 2022) – On January 10, Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed 2022-23 budget. Head Start California was disappointed that despite another enormous surplus — $20.6 billion in discretionary spending — Head Start programs again did not receive dedicated funding in the state budget.
“Head Start programs are life-changing,” said Christopher Maricle, Executive Director of Head Start California. “A state investment in Head Start would help tens of thousands of families who would benefit from Head Start’s comprehensive, wrap-around services, including nearly 7,000 homeless families who received services and nearly 30,000 families that received crisis intervention services that supported their food, clothing, and shelter needs. So, we look forward to collaborating with the Legislature and the Administration as the budget development process moves forward.”
Investing in Head Start is consistent with the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care goal reiterated in the Governor’s Budget Summary: “to (improving) quality of care by increasing access to full-day, full-year preschool programs.” In addition, full utilization of Head Start would be required under the proposed Build Back Better plan.
Head Start programs in California are at a precarious moment and face significant challenges including teacher shortages and a major shift in the early childhood learning and care landscape that will be impacted by the expansion of transitional kindergarten. Funding for Head Start programs in the state budget would provide more families access and choice. It will help programs recruit qualified staff and raise teacher compensation to address a severe wage disparity, as well as make the changes necessary to facilities and programming that will be needed to adapt to the changing landscape and respond to local need.
“Head Start programs are nationally recognized for their high quality, whole-child, whole-family approach,” said Head Start California Board President Stacey Scarborough.” Leveraging the federal investment in Head Start to maximize the benefit to our most vulnerable families makes sense.”
In December, Head Start California sent a budget request letter to the Administration signed by 38 members of the Legislature and dozens of community organizations. We urge Governor Newsom and the Legislature to work over the next several months to ensure that Head Start is included in the final 2022-23 budget.
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Head Start California is the premier advocacy organization for Head Start agencies throughout California. Head Start California advocates for its members at the federal, state and local county-level ensuring that members speak with a unified voice about the challenges facing California’s most vulnerable families, and the Head Start community that serves them. By communicating with members, and creating opportunities for learning and connecting, members are increasingly engaged, unified and supported as they work to better serve their clients and communities.