09.01.15

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Announces $16 Million in Federal Head Start Funds

Oakland, CA - Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced a $16,470,400 federal grant awarded to the City of Oakland to support Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.  The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I am excited to announce this critical funding for the City to expand and sustain its Head Start Programs,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.  “Providing access to early education programs is vital to closing the educational gap, breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering student success. We must ensure that all students go to school prepared to succeed.”

“We are honored to continue our tradition of running the City of Oakland’s Head Start and Early Head Start Program, which serves over 1700 children and their families with high quality early childhood education," said Sarah Bedford, Director of Human Services. “In line with the Mayor’s commitment, we are building a comprehensive system of early childhood supports that will ensure all children and families in Oakland enter kindergarten ready to learn and with a vision of hope for their future in a college or career of their choosing.”

In April, Congresswoman Lee joined City of Oakland Head Start Division Manager, Usana Hopkins, and other education leaders for a press conference decrying severe Head Start program cuts in the GOP Budget that would kick more than 4,500 California students out of Head Start programs.

Congresswoman Lee said, “As a member of the Budget Committee and Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education funding, I will continue to fight to protect vital education funding and support investments to expand early childhood education that ensures the future success of our children.”

The City of Oakland has been a grantee of the Head Start Program since 1972.  In 2009, the city received the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Early Head Start Expansion Grant. Today, in collaboration with the Unity Council, City of Oakland Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide full-day or part-day center-cased, home-based, and family care options to over 1,700 children and families annually.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.