Federal budget cuts are now directing their aim at Early Head Start and Head Start programs.
The cuts, totaling almost $250,000, went into effect March 1st, forcing Douglass Community Services to eliminate 18 positions and services to 77 children in the programs. The cuts would effect services in Lewis, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, and Shelby Counties.
"We're talking about children that are at-risk children or low income families and they need our help," said Cindy Combs, manager of one of several Early Head Start facilities in Marion County.
And, with the recent budget cuts, Combs says she'll be losing 4 slots for children at her building.
"It's not just a daycare," said Combs. "We also work with families and help them out too, guide and direct them, help them out with personal things and help them grow as a family."
Dave Dexheimer oversees the Early Head Start and Head Start Programs.
With 14% of kids not returning next school year, Dexheimer says parents need to start weighing their options.
"If they're working or going to school, they will have to make the decision as to whether or not they can afford the childcare services they would have to pay for on their own," said Dexheimer.
With budgets already tight and the possible threat for more federal cuts next year, Combs says she hopes the worst is over.
"I don't know what to expect," said Combs. "I hope that this is it with the sequestration and maybe the government will see what we do and what we offer our families."
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