Rush, Illinois Members of Congress Demand Answers from City Agency on head Start and Early Head Start Changes
Countless families may opt out of early education for their children because of recent changes
CHICAGO — Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) sent a letter to the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) expressing deep concerns about the recent re-competition of Head Start and Early Head Start awards. This change will have a disproportionate impact on Latino, Black, immigrant and low-income children and early education service providers across Chicago.
“While we understand some of the reasoning behind the decision to drastically alter funding for service providers, the reality is that these funding processes and decisions have resulted in the inequitable distribution of slots. Failure to adequately account for the cultural and linguistic needs of our communities, transportation barriers, and the impact on the early educator workforce and other wrap-around services has left communities with an unacceptable lack of coverage and created tremendous uncertainty for local organizations and families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.
In the letter, the Members sought more information on the city’s role in the re-competition process, how decisions that led to this troubling outcome were made, and an update on the number of children successfully transitioning from sites without federal funding to new Head Start and Early Head Start sites. The letter also requests information about how DFSS is communicating with families about their options and potential transfers and what options are available for families that are assigned to sites that do not meet their cultural or linguistic needs.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.