Program cuts to affect hundreds of toddlers

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – The wave of sequestration cuts has hit San Diego’s Head Start, which provides childcare free of cost for thousands of needy families across the county.

Nearly $1.1 million will be cut from Head Start’s $20 million annual budget. The first center to be impacted by the sequester cuts is in North County.

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 8.24.31 PM“This is a huge hit for families who depend on us to make ends meet,” said MAAC Head Start Director in North County Alethea Arguilez. “We’re considering how many layoffs and which locations may have to close.”

Head Start Centers serve 10,000 children between the ages of 3 to 5 year olds throughout the county. Next month, 300 children are projected to be dropped off the program.

Program officials said Head Start centers also provide as many as three meals to the children it serves.

“Because a lot of these children may not have enough food at home,” said Carlsbad Head Start Center Director Cheiko Lee.

Many parents say they don’t know what they’ll do if their little ones are cut off the program.

“Families are struggling to pay their rent. Imagine paying for child care,” said a woman dropping of her grandchild at a Head Start Center in Carlsbad.

“It would be devastating to me, I’m a full time working mom,” said Susan Boles, mother of four living in Carlsbad.

The second round of cuts are expected in the summer months.


    • socalgal

      The stats prove that by the time these kids get into school, most haven't benefitted from the program at all. They're still at average, or below average, with the kids who started regular kindergarten. Head Start is nothing but a free babysitting service. The rest of us had to pay for childcare, so stop complaining.

      • HS Teacher in Ohio

        I was a single parent of two when my children attended a Head Start program in Ohio. Yes they attended said school for free and got free meals. Head Start also helped me while I attended college to pursue a Bachelors in Education. Both of my children went into kindergarten above average and are still above average in high school. I also want to let you know that due to the screenings they also receive at Head Start they helped me to find out the my oldest child is hearing impaired. I am sure from your statement that you have no clue what does or does not happen at a Head Start program.

  • Taxpayer

    Why do people keep having kids when they know they won't be able to afford daycare? Then they become dependent on the government and it's a big scene when the government puts the responsibility back on the parents.

  • M

    “Families are struggling to pay their rent, imagine paying for child care,” said a woman dropping of her grandchild at a Head Start Center in Carlsbad.

    I pay for child care. Why should I have to pay for my own children’s child care AND other people’s child care (taxes). Not to be harsh, but those that cant afford their own children probably shouldnt have any. Unfortunately we live in a society where people feel entitled to do whatever they want even when it costs others money.

  • guest

    Head Start is a money pit and a joke. Cut the whole program and hold the parents accountable for their own children and actions. Geez, what ever happened to personal responsibility?

  • Gary Pate

    Massive waste & fraud in Head Start will little or no benefit to children. Cut it forever like most other Govt. programs.

  • R. Gordon

    This whole sequestration thing is a joke! Sequestration should have absolutely nothing to do with the ability of anygovernment agency, to operate at the same levels as it did last year. The budget did NOT go down compared to last year's budget, but rather the expected increase over last year's budget dropped by a mere 2%. The budget is still going up, but not quite as much as was hoped. The Obama administration is doing their best to make things as hard on people as possible, with the hope that they will never again be asked to reduce spending.

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  • Benna Martin

    Head Start is a school-readiness program. Children who benefit from the program show great improvement in their comprehension and social skills upon exiting the program. Each child has the potential to succeed or fail as they progress through school; how well or how poorly a student performs K-12 depends upon the individual student, educators, school system, family support, health and a number of other factors. Head Start is not a free babysitting service. Visit a Head Start classroom and you'll see that the day is structured around learning activities and an intense curriculum.

  • Jennifer

    The comments “don’t have kids if you can’t afford them” doesn’t matter at this stage. The kids are here and they are being cared for. The parents are working and need daycare. Find something to complain about when the parents have to figure out a way to get more money to pay for child care and get on more government programs. I pay for day care and taxes and while it’s expensive think about the situations the kids will be in once it’s cut. This country’s ridiculous it’s all about themselves that’s why society is the way it is.

  • dbslas

    Those of you commenting about how Head Start is a joke, and a glorified babysitting service have no clue. I work in a home daycare that has Head Start children, and the rest of the daycare is community famiiles. The Head Start program requires a very structured environment, and the agency staff comes to the daycare often to observe your environment and the interaction of the children. We are required to incorporate a weekly lesson plan that has individualization in several developmental stages for each child. We must make written and photo observations of the children in each stage. We have to use a grading scale quarterly to document their progress and define areas they need more help, and focus on those areas for the next quarter. There is so much that his program does for children.

    Parents must work or be a full-time student. We collect paystubs and/or school schedules monthly. the program offers a lot of support to families in need (again, not because they are lazy and popping out children), but because of many situations that any of you complaining about could end up in and would need assistance.

    I myself needed to rely on the Head Start program for my own child (1 child). Not because I am a lazy-ass sponging off the system, but because of circumstances out of my control. I have worked my whole life. I am college-educated. I pay taxes. I don't pop out babies to keep the hand-outs coming. But when I needed help, I was grateful that this program was there. The families we have in our daycare now are amazing, hard-working, dedicated parents who simply aren't making it financially. Without this program, and others like it — we all suffer in the long run.

    There will always be those that take advantage of the system, but the vast majority of the people in this program and others are trying to better themselves and be financially sound to care for their families without assistance.

    So please, don't be so ignorant and close-minded just because you may be more financially sound and able to pay for childcare. If you lost your job tomorrow, you might be seeking these services and grateful they are available.

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