Daniel Schneider: Government helping Head Start program

— In a recent article by Collin Smith, it was announced that Sunrise Kids Preschool and Child Care will be the new provider of Head Start in Craig. ("Preschool a head start for children," Sept. 1) Knowing of Moffat County's dedication to the program, I would like to share what the federal government is doing to strengthen Head Start.

President Bush understands the need for children to receive a quality preschool education so they may be fully prepared to enter kindergarten with their peers. To that end, we have worked to strengthen the Head Start program so low-income families can receive quality skills and services.

I recently appointed Administrator Patricia Brown, a career employee with a strong track record, to direct the Office of Head Start, the federal bureau responsible for administering the Head Start program. Administrator Brown has been on the cutting edge of quality control by creating and implementing a risk analysis tool and risk management process for Head Start programs. Rather than merely reacting to a bad situation with a particular program, her strategy has been to identify problems within a particular program and provide early intervention to remedy them before children are adversely affected.

This strategy is important, as it ensures low-income children and families get the level of education and services expected with tax-dollars, while establishing a mechanism for dealing with local Head Start programs that are not serving needy Americans as they are funded to do.

I am confident our new strategy of identifying and assisting problem programs before they spiral out of control will benefit countless children and families who rely on Head Start around the nation. With an annual budget of nearly seven billion dollars, the Head Start program should deliver positive results - and we will continue to ensure it lives up to expectations.

Sincerely,

Daniel Schneider

Acting Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

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