Parents express concerns over Head Start losing funding

Parents express concerns over Head Start losing funding
More than 1,300 low income families may no longer have a place to send their children to preschool. (Photo source: WLOX)
More than 1,300 low income families may no longer have a place to send their children to preschool. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - After the investigation of child abuse reports at local Head Start centers, the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency lost their federal funding for the program. With less than a week left to file an appeal, parents are wondering what happens next.

"Head Start is a good program. I went through Head Start many years ago, but as far as what's going on now, I don't know how things have changed. I hope they get it together, because it's a lot of parents out there, single parents, that need this system," said Pam Barkum.

Funding was taken away from The Gulf Coast Community Action Agency for the Head Start programs in South Mississippi, following an investigation into five incident reports of child abuse. If the centers were to close, more than 1,300 low income families may no longer have a place to send their children to preschool.

"Education is very important to us, and if we have to we will pay for my child to be taken care of so she can get the proper education," said Santana Hands.

Although the community action agency still has time left to file the appeal, some parents wonder why they weren't informed sooner.

"That's a major concern for me, because I want to know. I'm a working mother, and I don't want to come here one day and [they] say, 'hey, well, we're no longer open,'" said Hands.

Even with uncertainty looming over the South Mississippi preschool centers, several parents would hate to see the school's doors close.

"My son actually likes coming here. Every time he sees the building he takes off running before I go in the building myself. That's what I like. I know his teachers take care of him very well for him to run all the way in the classroom before I get there. That tells me they are doing something right for him," said Ruby Nelson.

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