The Central Valley has received a $32 million grant for the Migrant Head Start program. Much of this funding will go directly to kids in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties Announcement of the grant came this past week from Rep. Josh Harder, who worked to secure the funding in last year’s appropriations process.
“Every kid, no matter where their parents are from, deserves a great education. This funding will help set a whole generation in the Central Valley up for success,” said Rep. Harder. “We’re facing a years-long process of addressing the learning losses caused by the pandemic. We’re going to need every dollar we can to keep our kids on track, and this is a huge step in the right direction.”
“The Stanislaus County Office of Education Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program staff is excited to learn about having the program refunded through our annual grant award. Known as the Central California Migrant Head Start program, we manage this American investment for equity and quality to serve nearly 2,700 at-risk and vulnerable children in an eight-county region,” said Tony Jordan, Executive Director, Child & Family Services, Stanislaus County Office of Education & Central California Migrant Head Start. “The children we serve come from hard-working families that toil our fields and orchards to help ensure a steady and safe food supply for our grateful nation. As you know, a low-income agricultural worker’s life is filled with challenges as they work long seasonal hours traveling and following the harvest. Having this program available to them ensures that their children are cared for in a safe and nurturing early childhood education environment rich in practices that support school readiness and social competence at the earliest of ages. We are proud and honored to provide this opportunity, serve and support, and continue the 56-year legacy of Head Start as we educate children, support parents, develop professionals, and impact lives and communities.”
The Migrant Head Start program serves specifically children from six weeks to school age whose parents work in agricultural labor, including seasonal farmworkers. The program serves more than 700 students in Rep. Harder’s district and neighboring Merced County, and offers extended hours to match seasonal farming schedules. The Central Valley’s previous grant for the program, a sum of about $190 million, expired in 2019.
Representative Harder has been a leader in the effort to bolster early education and child care programs. He recently introduced a bipartisan bill to address the shortage of affordable childcare facilities across the nation. In his first term, Rep. Harder helped secure $2.3 million for this program, contacted the national Head Start office to protect $2.5 million in federal investments for local districts, advocated for an education representative on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and announced a $26 million grant for Central Valley Head Start.