October 31, 2007

CARDIN, MIKULSKI ANNOUNCE NEARLY $25.4 MILLION FOR HEAD START CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS IN MARYLAND

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced four Maryland recipients have been awarded a total of approximately $25.4 million in Head Start grants through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that gives children and families access to a range of comprehensive services, including early education, parenting resources, health screenings and follow-ups, and social services.  Head Start consists of two programs: Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS). 

"Head Start has been one of the most successful federal programs.  It helps the children who are most in need to keep up with their age group in school.  It brings children to the doctor to get immunizations or hearing checks.  It provides nutritious meals for children who might otherwise go hungry," said Senator Mikulski.  "I'm a social worker.  I've seen first hand children whose lives were changed by a simple hearing aid.  It can make all the difference.  I will continue to make sure our children are a top priority in the federal checkbook."
 
"Research shows that the Head Start program works," said Senator Cardin.  "Low-income children who attend the program make gains in vocabulary, writing and letter recognition, and they have access to health care.  These children arrive at school better prepared and do better academically compared with children who do not attend Head Start."

The Baltimore City Council and Mayor have been awarded nearly $18.4 million for HS and EHS programs.  For more information, call Barbara Patalics at 410-396-7438.

SHORE UP INC. in Salisbury has been awarded nearly $3.9 million for HS programs.  For more information, call Dean Burrell at 410-749-1142, extension 325.

Friends of the Family Inc. in Baltimore has been awarded nearly $1.8 million for EHS programs.  For more information, call Faith Valente at 410-659-7701.

The Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission in Cumberland has been awarded nearly $1.3 million for HS programs.  For more information, call Michelle Howard at 301-777-5970.

HS serves low-income preschool-age children and their families, while EHS serves children pre-natal to age 3, as well as pregnant women and their families.  These programs are for the poorest children.  About 75 percent of Head Start families are at or below the federal poverty line, which for a family of four in 2006 was an annual income of $20,000.  These children are often the farthest behind in learning to read and learning the alphabet.  Head Start programs make a difference - bringing children from the 16th percentile in vocabulary to nearly the national norm.

Senator Mikulski is a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee that funds HHS, and secured a $200 million increase for Head Start funds in the fiscal year 2008 budget.  Senator Cardin is on the Budget Committee.