While some "essential" programs such as TSA remained intact following the failure of Congress to fund the federal government as of midnight Tuesday, certain programs such as Head Start are already feeling ill effects.
Today the National Association for the Education of Young Children posted an update about Head Start funding in its latest e-News. Head Start grants are made on a rolling basis, and 23 programs serving 19,000 children were anticipating a payment on October 1. Now, five of those grantees have shut their doors because of the lack of federal funds. If the shutdown goes on for some time, it will affect other grantees as well. Sequestration has already led to 57,000 children losing Head Start services in the last fiscal year.
As of Thursday, more than 5,000 kids under the age of 5 have been shut out of their preschools in 11 states, according to Sally Aman, a spokeswoman for the National Head Start Association. She noted that this is not only bad for the children but also for the parents who must scramble to find childcare or risk losing their jobs.
"What these parents aren't able to do is go to work, go to school," Aman told CNN. "It's really a devastating ripple effect."
Earlier this week, the NHSA released a statement that 19,000 low-income preschoolers could potentially lose Head Start and Early Head Start services. NHSA noted that 23 programs in 11 states are now without grant money that is "critical to the delivery of Head Start's high-quality early education."
Transportation services are one of many that are dependent on federal funding to local agencies. Yasmina Vinci, executive director of NHSA, said the government shutdown exacerbates the federal sequestration that was implemented this spring by Congress. She said the sequester cuts have already caused 57,000 Head Start students to lose their slots in local programs.
"Washington's budget battles have harmed even more of America's most vulnerable families," she added.
She pointed to Community Action of Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin in Massachusetts as one example of how both the sequester and now the government shutdown has shuttered classroom doors. The center started school on Monday, one month later than usual because of the sequester, Vinci said. The government shutdown may force Community Action to close school again.
"This abdication of responsibility by Congress and leaders in Washington has further displaced the at-risk children already reeling from the sequester," Vince concluded. "Government shutdown is one cut atop an already deep wound."