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Head Start program faces possible funding cuts

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Albany/HV: Head Start program faces possible funding cuts
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With federal budget cuts looming and no agreement in sight, programs like Head Start are set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding. YNN's Meredith Zaritheny has more on how local program officials say these budget cuts could have a devastating impact on families across the Hudson Valley.

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- With federal budget cuts looming and no agreement in sight, programs like Head Start are set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding. Local program officials say these budget cuts could have a devastating impact on families across the Hudson Valley.

"It will be devastating for our families because families depend on us," said Lynda Cordani, Disabilities and Mental Health Manager.

Head Start plays a big role in the lives of millions of kids across the nation, but especially right here in Hudson Valley.

"The children really benefit when they come here we have warm meals, we have brush our teeth, we have playtime with the children, learning time," said Carrie Decker, assistant teacher.

Head Start provides early education and school readiness preparation to preschool children from low income families. The program is much more than just a daycare. It also helps them set up medical insurance, teaches the parents how to navigate the education system and advocate for their children.

"So, unfortunately, it is a big loss if we were to have any sort of cuts," said Decker.

Head Start officials say their facing a five to nine percent cut in funding over the next seven months if Washington doesn't resolve the budget deficit and that could mean big cuts to their program.

"I'm expecting about $137,000 cut out of the program, which is sizeable, which would reflect one class and one teaching team in the classroom and some support staff and services," said Sharon Sabine, Director of Head Start Western Orange County.


That cut in funding results in 15 kids losing their slot at the Middletown Center and the layoff of three teachers, plus support staff. The impact, program officials say, would be devastating not only to the kids, but also the community.

"We're their support system and they depend on us to bring up their children every single day," said Cordani.

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