MARTINEZ, Calif. – U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (CA-5) and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) visited the Martinez Early Childhood Center on Monday to present a check totaling $4.5 million of federal grant money to support Head Start services throughout Contra Costa County. Specifically, the funding will be used to increase the number of children in high quality early learning programs with local partnerships, increase the rate of pay for Family Child Care Providers, and increase teacher qualifications, educational standards, and family and community engagement.
“Head Start and Early Head Start programs are of tremendous value to our community,” said Rep. Thompson. “I am proud to have helped secure these federal funds, which will help make sure all students, regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make, have equal access to a quality education from the day they first step foot in a classroom.”
“If our goal is a well-educated citizenry, early education is where we need to start. Research shows that for every dollar we invest in early childhood education, there is a $14 return on investment. As a former Head Start Commissioner, I have witnessed firsthand the positive effects these programs have on exciting students, empowering communities, and strengthening the future of America,” said Rep. DeSaulnier.
“There are many winners as a result of this grant for Contra Costa County’s Head Start program,” said Candace Andersen, Chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. “A clear benefit, though, is to strengthen existing child care programs and expand their reach. Dozens more children will be brought into the program at an age where high quality early learning has such a major impact.”
Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness for children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services.