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$21 million in federal grants going to local Head Start program

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Erie County's Head Start/Early Head Start early childhood education program is getting a big boost from Washington. Rep. Brian Higgins announced Wednesday that the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Community Action Organization of Erie County more than $21 million in grants.

Higgins says in addition to the human impact, Head Start has a positive economic impact on the community.

"A study conducted in California showed that for every dollar invested in Head Start, we create $9 in return through increased earnings, employment, family stability and decreased governmental assistance, crime, and special education costs," Higgins said.

Community Action Organization President Nathan Hare says the program provides a broad range of community-based services designed to reduce the impact of poverty in the lives of children and in the lives of families in Erie County.

"It provides opportunities to help lift people out of poverty and to help break the cycle of poverty in the lives of individuals, in families and in communities," said Hare. 

Hare says the funding will support services for nearly 2,100 infants, toddlers and preschool children and their families at 29 Head Start/Early Head Start Academies across the county.