Head Start, a federally funded pre-K program for low-income children, had already been hit by a 5.3 percent sequestration budget cut. In the Kansas City metropolitan area, 200 Head Start slots were eliminated in Missouri and 50 more in Kansas.
On Tuesday, due to the government shutdown, 23 Head Start programs in 11 states, with fiscal years beginning October 1, were told to close.
"It (the shutdown) is beginning to impact Head Start children and families, not so much right here, right now, but nationally," says Jim Caccamo, director of the department of early learning at the Mid-America Regional Council. He oversees Mid-America Head Start, providing assistance to 3,000 children and families in Clay, Platte, and Jackson counties in Missouri.
Caccamo says, in some ways, they’ve dodged a bullet because their fiscal year, based on when the grant was approved, begins November 1.
"The monies that we receive, we should receive through October," says Caccamo. "So the immediacy is not something significant right now, although November isn’t very far away."
But, Caccamo says the region has already been affected by budget cuts from the sequester. And, he's heard that some local Head Start sites, such as the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, have been notified that, as of October 1, they would not be reimbursed for the food subsidies for the children.