Head Start programs in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties recently received more than $19 million in federal grants.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which last December received a $960 million boost in Head Start funding from Congress, approved $19,197,042 in grants for two community early learning providers:
— $6,226,789 for CommUnify, formerly the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County.
— $12,970,253 for Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.
“CommUnify is thrilled to be able to continue to provide quality early education to children 0-5 years of age and family support services to parents to ensure every child is socially, emotionally and academically prepared for kindergarten,” Patricia Keelean, the CommUnify CEO, said. “Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. This ongoing support gives every child the head start needed to grow into happy, healthy and successful students.”
Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, who earlier in his career worked with Head Start as a parent involvement coordinator and family services advocate, has consistently advocated in Congress for increased funding for critical early learning programs such as Head Start and Early Head Start.
“One of my first jobs was working with Head Start — and I saw firsthand the huge impacts that their programming can have in giving every child on the Central Coast the chance to receive a high-quality education,” Rep. Carbajal said in a news release. “That’s why I’ve pushed every year that I’ve been in Congress to increase the funding for these programs, and to ensure the Central Coast has the resources it needs to help our local Head Start providers maintain this critical community service.
“After delivering nearly a billion-dollar increase in last year’s funding package, I’m proud to see the Central Coast benefit from this robust increase this year.”