HCN News & Notes

State Awards $15 Million to Head Start Childcare Programs

LYNN — The Healey-Driscoll administration announced it is awarding $15 million in FY 2024 Head Start state supplemental grants to 28 organizations across the Commonwealth that offer Early Head Start and Head Start to bolster the state’s early-education and care workforce.

“This Head Start grant is helping to tackle two challenges that I hear about often as I travel around the state: the high cost of childcare and the mental-health crisis impacting our youth,” Gov. Maura Healey said. “This $15 million investment of state funds into programs like Head Start will help make our state more affordable and equitable, support the hiring of qualified educators to serve more children, and build healthier communities by meeting the needs of families.”

These grants focus on funding workforce-development supports and enhancing program quality of all Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Three Western Mass. organizations are among the 28 receiving funds: Berkshire County Head Start Child Development Program Inc., Community Action Pioneer Valley Inc., and Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start Inc.

Funds can be used to support staff salaries, compensation, and benefits to address recruitment and retention of Early Head Start and Head Start staff, as well as provide direct support to Early Head Start and Head Start programs to provide high-quality, comprehensive services that may include coaches, mental-health consultants, and additional teaching staff to reduce staff-to-child ratios.

“Head Start is a vital lifeline for over 11,000 vulnerable young children and their families in Massachusetts, providing access to high-quality early education and comprehensive services that children and families need to thrive,” Massachusetts Head Start Assoc. Executive Director Michelle Haimowitz said.