Call to action from Every Child Matters

A special message from our friends at Every Child Matters:

In 2011, Congress narrowly averted an economic crisis and passed the Budget Control Act. In it, they created a committee to recommend a series of budget cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit. If the committee failed to come to an agreement, there would be across the board budget cuts, something people in Washington call the “sequester.” Needless to say, Congress failed to produce an agreement, and the mindless cuts began last March even though the deficit has rapidly fallen as the economy has improved. These cuts will continue for the next nine years unless Congress acts.

On August 19, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that as a result of Congress’s inability to govern in a way that makes sense, 57,000 three- and four-year-olds will not be able to participate in the early childhood education and nutrition program Head Start this fall. These cuts will not save the country any money. These children will start school behind, they will not participate in the healthy nutrition programs that are part of Head Start, and they are placed at greater risk of entering the criminal justice system later in life.

Head Start programs across the country eliminated services for 57,000 children in the coming school year to balance budgets diminished by the federal sequester, cutting 1.3 million days from Head Start center calendars and laying off or reducing pay for more than 18,000 employees, according to federal government data scheduled for release Monday.

Most programs did completely cut services to some children. The sequester “also impacted how many staff kept their jobs, how many dental screenings and health screenings are available and what happens to those families as we go into a new school year,” the official said.

This budgetary recklessness hurts children and must stop. Congress created their so-called “sequester,” and they have the power to end it. And end it they must. Call your member of Congress (provide link) and tell them three simple words – “Cancel the Sequester!” It harms children, it eliminates jobs, and it doesn’t save the country any money. Congress needs to hear this over and over again until they finally do something.

Michael Petit
President
Every Child Matters Education Fund

Every Child Matters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to make children a national political priority. For more information, visit www.everychildmatters.org.