WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced $55 million in federal grant funding for six early childhood education programs that serve communities across northern New Mexico. The funding is provided through grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Four Indian Head Start programs will receive funding to expand and sustain Head Start programs. The Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Council in Rio Arriba County will receive $782,969 per year for five years to serve the children in its program, and Eight Northern Indians Pueblo Council in San Juan County will receive $296,221 per year for five years. Taos Pueblo will receive $630,812 per year for five years to support Head Start, which is one of the few early childhood options in the community. Santa Clara Pueblo’s award includes $298,516 per year for five years for Head Start programs and an additional $960,000 per year for four years to fund Early Head Start and Child Care Partnerships. Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women, enhances the development of very young children and promotes healthy family functioning.
Additionally, Presbyterian Medical Services will receive $6,943,442 per year for five years for Head Start projects that focus on child welfare, healthy development and preparation for kindergarten in San Juan, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties. Youth Development Inc. is receiving $6,447,493 to help provide important services for young children to 2,000 families in Bernalillo, Rio Arriba and Taos counties.
“All New Mexico kids deserve a chance to succeed, and early childhood education is crucial to building a foundation for future success and supporting hardworking families today,” Udall said. “These grants will help support Head Start programs in tribal communities and across northern New Mexico so more New Mexico children can begin kindergarten prepared to achieve their full potential. But this funding is only a downpayment. Congress needs to fully fund successful child well-being programs to give more kids the resources they need to grow up healthy and do well in school, and that’s what I’m pushing for with my Saving Our Next Generation Act.”
“This is a significant investment in Head Start programs in Indian Country and across northern New Mexico, and will go a long way toward increasing opportunities for our children,” Heinrich said. “These funds will help ensure hardworking families have access to programs that promote healthy development and prepare children for long-term academic achievement. Ensuring our students are receiving a world-class, affordable education at every age — no matter where they come from — isn't just about improving the wellbeing of our children, it's also the surest way to rescue our struggling economy.”
Udall’s Saving Our Next Generation (SONG) Act calls for streamlining eligibility and fully funding programs that are proven to improve child well-being, such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Head Start, school meal programs and housing assistance. Additionally, the SONG Act increases access to proven health and education services while calling on national leadership to assess steps that can be taken to further improve outcomes for our nation's children.