NMCAA – Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency’s Head Start Program will begin feeling the impact of the Sequestration and Health Care Reform beginning Aug. 1, 2013.
Starting with its new grant year, NMCAA’s Head Start Program will need to shave $106,812 (5.27%) from its budget as well as redirect $175,500 for health care coverage for those employees working at least 30 hours per week. In order to balance the budget, eight employees will lose their jobs and 46 families will lose Head Start services. These are children and families with the greatest need of pre-school programs.
Northeast Missouri Community Action Agency provides services to low-income families in five counties in northern Missouri—Adair, Clark, Knox, Schuyler and Scotland. These services strive to remove barriers to economic self-sufficiency. One of these services is Head Start, which provides developmental screenings and assessments, medical and dental services, and home visits designed to support the families. “The first step in keeping people out of poverty and creating a stronger community is to invest in children,” said Penny Miles, NMCAA Executive Director. “These cuts adversely affect our children at the most crucial time of their development.”
In order to meet the $282,312.00 deficit, NMCAA will be closing a center in Kahoka, Mo. Additionally, the Agency will be reducing the number of children who attend the Kirksville Part Day Center. The children from Kahoka will be transported to Wayland for classes. Kirksville Part Day, which is currently serving 78 children, will be reduced to 40 children. NMCAA currently has two sessions of Head Start in Schuyler County. That center will drop to just one session.
NMCAA was given the directive by the Office of Head Start that high-quality service and adherence to the Performance Standards be maintained and that the dictate of its Community Needs Assessment be followed. The Agency must accomplish this while operating at the same level of funding that was in place in 2006. If the Sequestration continues, NMCAA will be forced to downsize the program by 5 percent in each of the next nine years.
Head Start is just the beginning for NMCAA. This story will continue during all of the next year as new grant cycles begin. Additionally, this will affect local economies. As NMCAA funds decrease, the Agency will be buying less and using fewer services. The entire community will be affected.
“When members of Congress were directly affected by the problems the Sequestration caused to airline travel, they found a solution,” Miles said. “If we value our children, we should be able to find a way to help them when they need it the most.”