While the temporary government shutdown continues with no sign of an agreement being reached, both rural and urban government agencies throughout the United States are being affected. Funding for some government programs have been denied due to a fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. Since Congress was unable to come to an agreement on healthcare, the Oct. 1 deadline for creating a funding budget was not met.
Head Start programs around the United States depend on federal funding. Multiple programs have had to close their doors due to the shutdown. Fortunately, for Livingston County and the Green Hills region, Green Hills Head Start programs have not been closed.
Each Head Start program operates under a different fiscal year, according to Beverly Hooker, director of Green Hills Head Start program, which operates eight schools and six home visitors in nine counties.
Head Start centers offer comprehensive early childhood developmental programs. Home visitors bring these programs to children who are unable to come to the centers. Services provided include education, health, nutritional and social services. Head Start has served the Green Hills area since the mid-1960s.
Currently, the total funded enrollment in the Green Hills area is 237, with approximately 48 of those children utilizing Head Start centers or home visitors in Livingston County.
The Green Hills Head Start program’s fiscal year runs from Feb. 1 to Jan. 31, so the program has already been granted funds for the entirety of the fiscal year.
“We’ve received a federal grant for this past fiscal year,” Hooker explained. “It will continue until the end of the fiscal year. If the government shutdown continues until closer to the end of the fiscal year, then funds will not have been approved or be available for us.”
Green Hills Head Start employs 51 persons throughout the nine-county region, and 10 of those come from Livingston County.