Tucson News Now is learning more about federal cuts that could affect families in our community.
Child & Parent Centers, Inc. is the Head Start grantee for southeastern Arizona and could face serious cuts.
Nationwide, the Head Start program is facing a 5% cut all across the board. That means Arizona will lose millions of dollars, leaving thousands of kids without the early childhood program. In southern Arizona that adds up to about $1.2 million.
The program teaches low income children the basics of childhood development. This includes cognitive and social skills and nutrition. It also gets them ready for Kindergarten.
Parents of the program are frustrated. Many of them believe it's vital for their kids to succeed.
"It's heartbreaking. There are so many children that actually need this program and so many children that would not have the means otherwise and we just don't have anywhere else to go," said Jolie Whatton.
Robert Bartlett agreed. He adopted his three grandchildren, all of which have attended Head Start. "I am retired, I live on Social Security and live on a limited income. To have to pay for additional things that the kids could benefit from would be impossible."
Executive Director of Child & Parent Centers, Inc., Maggie Molloy said the cuts will hit the low income families hard, especially since so many services have been reduced throughout the years.
"What we are seeing is that there have been cuts to many of the services the Head Start families use. There have been reductions to the DES childcare funding, things that are not necessarily cuts to us, but they affect the families we serve."
If the federal budget cuts continue, the Head Start program will have to downsize on September 1st.
The non-profit has more than 40 locations throughout southeastern Arizona.