FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday that the state will provide $800,000 in expedited funds to help ensure that the Head Start program in Bridgeport remains open in the weeks ahead while the federal government remains shut down.
Bridgeport Head Start is run by Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD) and serves 1,245 children. However, the federal shutdown that began on Oct. 1 stopped funding from reaching the center.
Earlier assistance from the state provided last week has allowed state-funded classrooms to operate on a limited basis for 494 children. The new expedited funds will allow Bridgeport Head Start to return to normal capacity for the remainder of the month.
“Head Start programs across our state provide daily meals and early childhood education – both critical components to raising successful citizens,” Malloy said in a statement. “These services are vital for the success of many children in low-income families, and the sad reality is that they are the ones paying the price for political games being played in Washington. It’s unacceptable.”
The Bridgeport ABCD program is one of 18 Head Start centers in Connecticut that serve roughly 6,621 students. It is the only center in Connecticut on an October budget cycle, making it the most directly impacted by the federal shutdown. Programs in numerous other Connecticut cities could also face closure beginning Nov. 1 if Congress fails to adopt a budget.
“Obviously, Connecticut cannot pick up the slack for the entire federal government,” Malloy added in the statement. “But we can try to do what’s possible in the short term to make sure our most vulnerable citizens receive the services they need. This is a problem that is caused by Washington, and that has to be fixed in Washington. Once again I am calling on House Republicans to stop their political gamesmanship and pass a clean continuing resolution that funds the government, keeps people at work, and keeps critical services available to those in need.”