We Must Address the Surge in Adverse Childhood Experiences

The National Head Start Association recognizes the impact of persistent childhood poverty, rising rates of foster care and other factors that make Head Start and Early Head Start more important than ever as a tool for state policymakers to support at-risk children and families. Community-based and proven to work, Head Start and Early Head Start programs are ready to partner with states to meet the needs of at-risk children and families and help them reach their potential. These programs are heralded for their outcomes by researchers, praised by families, and widely-supported in their communities. Yet, traditionally, few governors and state policymakers have invested state funding directly in community-based Head Start programs. Head Start programs serve children from vulnerable backgrounds ages birth to five and their families with a comprehensive model specifically designed to strengthen families, promote school readiness, and improve child health. These attributes make such programs valuable assets in promoting resilience. By increasing direct investment, Head Start can be leveraged to reach more young children in need and fill service gaps.

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