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On Thursday, February 17, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited the Judy Hoyer Early Learning Center at Cool Springs Elementary School in Adelphi, Maryland. Sebelius reads to a group of 4-year old Head Start students.
Sorry, kids. Go home.
Head Start programs across the country are closing because of the Republican government shutdown. That means that thousands of kids kept their spots in Head Start programs even as 57,000 other kids were sent home by the sequester, only to be sent home themselves just weeks after the start of school.

In all, 23 Head Start programs in 11 states and serving 19,000 children ran out of federal funding on Sept. 30. Some of those programs are still open—at least temporarily—thanks to the support of parent organizations or because of emergency funding from state or county governments. But they're on borrowed time, and others have already been forced to close:

For 770 preschool-aged children in eastern Alabama, school is out indefinitely. Thanks to the government shutdown which began Tuesday morning, Cheaha Regional Head Start (CRHS) has had to close all 16 of its locations, furlough its 240 employees without pay, and tell parents to keep all of the program’s students at home.
Others will close soon:
The parents of more than 800 children in central Pennsylvania were notified that no classes would be held after Friday.

“Without the government acting, we will have to close all of our centers,” Walter Kellogg told the Herald Online. Mr. Kellogg is the executive director of Carolina Community Actions, the agency that administers the federal program for low-income families in South Carolina’s York, Chester, Lancaster and Union counties.

The low-income parents of students at closed Head Start programs will now have to scramble for new child care arrangements, making it more difficult for them to keep their own jobs. And the uncertainty of not knowing how long the shutdown will continue can only make it worse. Then there are the Head Start workers, already paid too little before sequestration cut paychecks for many (and left others without jobs).

This is the kind of ripple effect of successive waves of Republican sabotage of the government: 57,000 kids, their parents, and 18,000 Head Start workers affected by sequester, and now a new toll, as yet unknown, from the shutdown. And of course it hits hardest at people already struggling to get by, while Republicans shriek about monument closings.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 11:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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