“These funds are key to driving positive change for countless Arizona children.”
Two grants totaling roughly $50 million have been awarded to Arizona’s Head Start programs this year, a public service that provides early childhood education opportunities for over 13,000 children in the state each year.
The grants, awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, signal an increased need for the program, which saw a drop in enrollment statewide when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2019, but is now experiencing resurgent demand.
In Phoenix, enrollment numbers are gradually making their way back to pre-pandemic numbers. The city served 4,304 kids in 2019, with numbers dropping to as low as 2,632 as the vaccine was being rolled out in 2021. Last year, according to the city’s annual report, 3,172 kids received services through its Head Start programs.
Over $40 million will go directly to the Phoenix Head Start program, US Rep. Ruben Gallego announced Tuesday. The federal investment is a slight increase from funding awarded last year, when $37 million was allotted to the city for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
“Investing in our children’s early education is an investment in our future, and I am thrilled to announce these dollars for the City of Phoenix,” said Rep. Gallego. “The grant will advance education opportunity and create pathways for success. These funds are key to driving positive change for countless Arizona children.”
The program provides school preparedness assistance for children up to 5 years old, and also works with parents to keep kids’ immunizations up-to-date, and arranges check-up visits with pediatricians and dentists.
Qualifications for households interested in utilizing the Head Start Program include:
- Being pregnant or having children five years old or younger
- Having a household income at or below the federal poverty level
- Having children with disabilities
- Experiencing homelessness
- Being a foster parent
Anyone curious about the program is encouraged to apply and discuss options with a Head Start employee.