Teacher instructing class

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an immediate expansion of Head Start and Early Head Start services for children exposed to lead-poisoned water in Flint. Michigan.

“Early education is one of the most important things we can do to help children overcome the effects of lead,” said Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “This funding for Head Start and Early Head Start will allow Flint’s existing Head Start programs to provide enhanced and expanded services, including additional classrooms, home visiting support, and transportation for families who need to visit the doctor.”

The expansion, which is funded by a one time emergency grant, will serve provide Head Start Services to 1,011 children and Early Head Start services to 166 children in Flint. HHS is expanding services by opening new classrooms, lengthening the school year, and enrolling more children in the home-based model. In addition, the funding will be used to offer more home visiting support to families, provide more transition to families for doctors appointments and to pick up bottled water, and by strengthening the behavioral health and nutrition services.

As advocates for children and families, we applaud HHS’s decision to ensure that every child in Flint has the early learning, health, and family well-being supports and services they need to thrive during this tragedy. To learn more about the HHS response to the water contamination in Flint, visit www.phe.gov/flint.

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