BEND, OR- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden attended a rally for the National Head Start Association Wednesday in Washington, DC. Wyden told the gathered crowd he would prioritize the early-education program in the Senate Finance Committee.
Patrick Carey, Deputy Executive Director for Neighbor Impact in Central Oregon says Head Start is always struggling for funding but especially in the current economy, “with inflation ranging on various things what you were able to do last year you can’t do this year. And in addition, the labor market has changed so drastically that I don’t think there is a Head Start program that isn’t struggling to hire and retain quality staff.”
Head Start and Early Head Start integrate high-quality early education with other critical services says Carey, “one of my favorite things about the Head Start program is it is not only pre-school but we also have a family services component. There is really no limit to what we can and will help a family with; whether that be housing, employment, you name it. So that they have a path out of poverty,” adding “when you look at generational data, it’s very clear that that program works. It also affords children in extreme poverty opportunities that without it just wouldn’t have the capacity to attend pre-school.”
NeighborImpact’s Head Start program operates in 12 sites (27 classrooms; 15 full day and 12 half-day) in Bend, La Pine, Prineville, and Redmond.