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Feb 25, 2013 7:04 PM by Jacqui Heinrich, jheinrich@koaa.com

Head Start, Early Head Start funding on federal chopping block

If Congress fails to act, budget cuts could seriously impact local children and their access to early childhood education.

The 'sequester'-- a series of automatic budget cuts-- has left funding for programs like Head Start and Early Head Start on the chopping block. The program provides free preschool and comprehensive health care services to families who meet federal poverty guidelines, serving more than 1,200 children in El Paso County alone. Just last year, El Paso County had more than 1,000 children on their wait list.

Delberta Uvalle, who now volunteers for Head Start, told News 5, "My children are all in their late 20's now. They all went to higher education, they're pursuing their careers. I'm not sure without the support we got from Head Start if they would have gotten that far."

If the automatic cuts go through, as many as 200,000 kids nationwide will be impacted. Teachers say early childhood education is especially important to kids in the 'achievement gap' who come from lower income or uneducated families.

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