City’s funding formula cuts Head Start in Kingsbridge
By Sarina Trangle
Come August, dozens of families with children enrolled in the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center’s Head Start program could find themselves without a slot in the program that will replace it.
A child care consolidation plan announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last spring will mean that KHCC’s program for 3- to 5-year-olds will transition from a 40-seat Head Start program to a 61-slot city-run Child Care program this fall.
The mayor’s EarlyLearn NYC initiative streamlines child care services for low-income families under one umbrella group, and seeks to add more educational components.
But the city’s new method of determining which neighborhoods are most in need gave KHCC a “moderate” rating, according to the Administration of Children’s Services, leaving the city with no more Head Start funding by the time KHCC’s proposal was considered. KHCC was still one of 149 providers offered a contract under EarlyLearn NYC but will now only be offering Child Care for the 3- to 5-year-old age group.
Executive staff said the new program is not a good fit for Kingsbridge Heights families.
Head Start is free, while Child Care charges parents on a sliding scale based on their income and family size. The city only gives Child Care subsidy vouchers to low-income parents who work or are enrolled in school, which Batya Novick, director of KHCC’s family services, said may leave undocumented children stranded.
“A lot of undocumented folks have under-the-table jobs. Their employers are not going to be willing to disclose this,” Ms. Novick said. “Head Start allows for free pre-school so that they’re really ready for kindergarten. It was accessible to all in our community, which is very, very diverse.”
This year KHCC served 97 children in its Head Start program by allowing some of the 40 seats to be shared among part-time attendees. Ms. Novick said that will not be possible under the new program, which will mean 36 fewer children can be accommodated even though the program officially provides more seats than the previous one.
KeywordsSarina Trangle, Kingsbridge Heighs Community Center, Head Start, EarlyLearn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg,