Investing in Flint’s children
Today we are pleased to announce that the Administration for Children and Families is acting quickly to respond to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. We know that the comprehensive services provided by Head Start can mitigate the effects of lead exposure and today we are taking concrete steps to ensure that Head Start children in Flint will receive a higher level of services and that more children will have access to Head Start.
Through one-time emergency funding of $3.6 million, the current Flint Head Start grantees are expanding to serve more children and enhancing existing services for the 1,177 children and families already enrolled. Our programs will increase the intensity of health services to ensure that children have continuous, accessible care, so that lead exposure is identified early, and treated appropriately. They will increase nutrition services to reduce children’s absorption of lead and effects caused by lead. Programs will also increase the intensity of behavioral health services to address lead effects that manifest as behavioral issues. Families will receive more home visiting support, as well as increased transportation services to and from the doctor, to WIC appointments, and to pick up bottled water.
Head Start programs are also expanding their services to serve additional children for a longer period of time. We will be opening three additional classrooms, to serve 51 additional children through the end of the next school year for children in most affected areas. We will lengthen the current school year by three weeks for our pre-school classes in the Genesee County Community Action Resource Department.
In addition, we will extend Head Start comprehensive services to 78 preschoolers enrolled in the special education program through the Genesee Intermediate School District. We will also enroll 24 additional children in the home based Head Start program.
Head Start’s unique local model allows us work with the grantees to quickly identify what could be done to respond to certain needs of the community. Our mission of school readiness addresses the full needs of a child, including support for their parents and family. Today’s important investment in Flint will help ensure that windows of opportunity stay open to the children in Flint.
Swift federal action moves Flint toward recovery
Next step in updating the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines