WASHINGTON – Following calls from U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that it is expanding Head Start Program eligibility to help more families in New Hampshire and across the country access affordable, high-quality early education services.
“All of New Hampshire’s children deserve the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, and Head Start programs are critical to providing affordable, reliable early childhood education across our state,” said Senator Hassan. “We know that too many families still face challenges in accessing high-quality child care, which is why I have pushed to expand these services. It is welcome news that the administration is taking this step forward, and I will continue working to meet the needs of New Hampshire children and families.”
“We are grateful for Senator Hassan’s efforts to expand eligibility for Head Start, and welcome today’s news from HHS,” said Betsey Andrews Parker, CEO of the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County. “We often encounter families struggling to find quality preschool programs and who are turned away due to eligibility. Expanding Head Start eligibility to families that receive SNAP benefits further strengthens our communities by affording more Granite State families access to quality early childhood education in preparation for kindergarten.”
Last week, Senator Hassan led a group of her colleagues in calling for this action, which expands eligibility for the program to include families that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Click here to read Senator Hassan’s letter.
Senator Hassan is working to support Head Start programs and ensure that families across the country have access to affordable child care services, which is critical to helping parents, particularly women, re-enter the workforce and strengthen the economy. The American Rescue Plan, which Senator Hassan helped pass into law, included more than $77 million for New Hampshire child care providers. Last November, Senator Hassan joined the rest of the NH congressional delegation in announcing nearly $9 million to strengthen New Hampshire’s early childhood education system, and earlier that year the delegation announced $405,000 through the American Rescue Plan for Head Start programs. Senator Hassan also introduced bipartisan legislation that builds on the American Rescue Plan by permanently increasing the amount of tax-free dollars working parents and their employers can set aside in a dependent care assistance plan to use toward child care expenses.