WHEREAS, Early Head Start faces many challenges as it expands, matures, and continues to improve program quality. Early Head Start programs must comply with the Head Start Program Performance Standards and other national and state regulations, respond flexibly to child, family, and community needs, partner with community agencies and child care programs, and adapt services according to rapidly changing social policies that impact on families with young children, such as welfare reform and health policies; and
WHEREAS, local grantees continue to focus on developing and implementing quality programs that reflect current research and best practice and to work toward promoting the Head start goal of social competence in children. Early Head Start exemplifies the ideals of Head Start and is a national laboratory for providing quality services to support pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and their families; and
WHEREAS, 1,072,014 children and pregnant women were enrolled in the head start and early head start programs in 2003, representing about 50 percent of those eligible to receive Head start services, 981,245 in Head Start and 90,769 in Early Head Start, 31% Black or African American, 31% Hispanic or Latino origin, 27% White, 11% American Indian or Alaska native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander or, Bi-or Multi-Racial or other; and
WHEREAS, in fiscal year 2005, Head Start was allocated approximately $6.8 billion -$6.2 billion for Head start and $684 million for Early Head Start which funds 1,982 Head Start programs and 747 Early Head Start programs; and
WHEREAS, average cost per child is $7,296; $7,061 for Head start and $19,502 for Early Head Start; and
WHEREAS, Early Head Start children have a higher cognitive development, demonstrate a higher level of social-emotional development, a higher communication rate, by age 3 have a larger vocabulary, and parents are more supportive of their children in their efforts to develop their language and learning skills; now
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP oppose any efforts to make further cuts to the Early Head Start Program; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP seeks full funding of Head Start and increased funding for the Early Head Start Program.