Sequestration Leaves 57,000 Children Out of Head Start

Written by Bryce Covert

Head Start programs will eliminate services for 57,265 children in the coming school year thanks to sequestration’s automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, according to new government data collected from individual programs. California, Texas and New York will cut the largest number of spots, at 5,611, 4,410 and 3,847, respectively. Nineteen states and Puerto Rico will cut off services to more than 1,000 children.

The cuts also mean the reduction of 1.3 million calendar days at centers across the country. About 18,000 hours will be cut by centers that are dealing with reduced funding by starting days later or ending earlier. Some programs are also eliminating bus services, and children whose parents don’t have reliable transportation may not be able to attend.

The cuts will also impact Head Start staff. More than 18,000 employees will experience lay offs or reduced pay.

Children have already been kicked out of the preschool program thanks to sequestration, according to reports across the country. The new data confirms that more children will experience the same fate.

Preschool programs aren’t just about keeping kids busy, but have big benefits in the long run. Children who attend stand to see $11 in economic benefits over their lifetimes for every dollar spent thanks to effects such as a higher likelihood of staying in school, going to college and avoiding teen pregnancy and crime. The economy in general also benefits, seeing $7 in savings for every dollar spent and an increase in human capital and economic output.

Parents also see a big impact. Some parents who previously relied on Head Start for their children report having to leave their jobs now that they don’t have a reliable place to send their kids while they go to work.

Ending sequestration’s automatic cuts wouldn’t just help the children and families being denied Head Start. It would restore services to domestic violence victimsthe home-bound elderlythose who need housing assistance and others. And it would also boost the economy in general, potentially increasing GDP by 1.2 percent and adding 1.6 million jobs.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Tim P2 years ago

I have a petition and group related to this. I believe war on terrorism is the big part of the problem for sequestration.

Reshaping the World Links with sites for the petition

Here’s the group to it all…

This is for the thing on

Reshaping the World Petition

Pledge to Reshaping the World

My petition signature goal is a million.

Lea Humphrey
Lea Humphrey5 years ago

another political debate about whose fault this is.
thank those of you who posted something informative -- S R G, among others.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm5 years ago

……………and yet The right is screaming for Obama to spend tons of Money going to Syria. The hypocrisy……….I should say lying………….. is at all time highs. They simply want everything privatised PERIOD> No matter HOW Much it hurts or kills the country.

They ddont care about spending they canre its not being spent on THEIR ideals

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper5 years ago


Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se5 years ago


Kathy Niell
Kathryn Niell5 years ago

Why don't the obstructionist Republicans realize the profound degative impact of sequestration? They are laying the groundwork for a poorer, sicker America. Shame on them!

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson5 years ago

class warfare at its finest......only in America........

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

And the Republican war on the working and middle class continues!

Joe Langer
Joe Langer5 years ago

Darryll, The President did not write the Sequestration bill, but unfortunately he signed it, playing right into the Republicans hands. The idea was supposed to be that it was so bad they would all want to avoid it, but when it came right down to it, it was the Republicans refusal to compromise that made it unavoidable. And why would they refuse to compromise to avoid something so terrible? Because it was exactly what they wanted the whole time. Cuts, Cuts, Cuts.......disable the government and then blame the results on the President. That was the plan. Luckily enough people saw through it to get Obama reelected. Hopefully enough will see through it now to get the teapublicans voted out of office next year. That is if you Fox Zombies don't keep multiplying.

Joe Langer
Joe Langer5 years ago

Lone W.- There are preschools for people who can afford them, Head start is for people who can't. People who can afford them don't need special programs, those who can't do. By your philosophy we should be giving food to the middle class, and the rich too, while we're at it, just to keep things equal. The existence of programs for the poor is because of the reality of inequality. But then Conservatives don't like to live in the real world, do they?