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About 960 kids normally enroll in the Head Start program in Mahoning County, but that number is closer to 900 this year because of federal budget cuts.
When federal cuts came after the sequester, MYCAP, the organization that administers the program, lost $380,000. Enrollment in Head Start programs nationwide is expected to drop by 57,000 students.
“It impacted our families,” said MYCAP Head Start Director Lois Clark. “That meant we won’t be able to service 58 additional families.”
The loss of funding also forced MYCAP to shut down a Head Start preschool location and eliminate 10 staff positions.
“It was a very difficult decision we made to reduce the amount of children we serve,” said MYCAP Chief Operating Officer Sheila Triplett. “But we tried to make sure we minimized that impact by making sure they could receive services through other child care programs.”
MYCAP officials said they believe the cuts are being felt throughout the community.
“We won’t be purchasing as many school supplies, classroom supplies,” Clark said. “We eliminated one of our centers so that means that entity won’t receive rent.”