Local Head Start Could Face Cuts In Federal Budget Battle

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Head Start is about giving young children from birth to age 5 a leg up.

"Those are critical years to work with that child in insuring their brain is developed and can be prepared for school success," says Karen Harrell, Vice President of Early Childhood Services at Porter Leath Family Services.

Porter Leath runs several Head Start centers where kids learn the basics as they prepare for school.

Now that learning could be greatly impacted by what is, or in this case isn't, going on in Washington.

If Congress doesn't reach a budget compromise by Friday,  Head Start could feel it.

In Tennessee, a projected 1200 children could lose access to Head Start.

Porter Leath is bracing for an 8-percent reduction

"With that cut, it could possibly be impactful with our center. We are thinking or planning there may be a cut of 50 children that could be impacted," says Harrell.

That's just in the portion of Head Start run by Poter Leath.

Shelby County runs 23 Centers with 3400 kids and a waiting list for hundreds more.

If cuts kick in, those on the waiting list may be waiting a lot longer.

Sacara Flowers, works at Head Start and has  two children who've been in the program,
"They should re-evaluate the budget and find something else to cut besides our children education. That's more important."

Local Head Start programs haven't decided where they would start making the first cuts,  if it comes to that.

Ironically just last week, Head Start workers  say they were excited about President Obama including Pre-K and Early Childhood Education as a priority in his second term.

Now they are  wondering about their future.