Head Start program to receive $5M in federal funding

Congressman Richard Neal announced the federal funding to staff and preschoolers.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A $5 million grant has been awarded to an education program for western Massachusetts children and families in poverty. Head Start of Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield received the money as part of a $10 million grant for fiscal year 2017.

Head Start works with low income families to give children up to 5 years old quality early education. Congressman Richard Neal announced the federal funding to staff and preschoolers.

Executive director Janis Santos told 22News that the money will be used to expand education programs and services that Head Start offers to toddlers and their families. “They have to make a decision, ‘Do I pay my rent or feed my children?’ It’s very difficult,” she explained. “But we help parents through all of the situations. We help them to find resources that they need.”

The Holyoke, Chicopee & Springfield Head Start chapter has 976 preschool children enrolled. There are 32 chapters in Massachusetts, but Springfield’s is the second largest in the state.

Head Start will also be receiving another $5 million as part of it’s annual $10-million funding for fiscal year 2017.