Shutdown Worries Federally Funded Programs - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Shutdown Worries Federally Funded Programs

Posted: Updated:

The effects of the government shut down are endless.

Along with the hundreds of thousands of federal employees forced to stay home, those who rely on federal grant money are also starting to worry.

The Head Start and Early Head Start programs are continuing business as usual for now… but if the shut down continues, the future of the program is bleak.

Budget cuts are something the Head Start program is used to, sequestration has recently forced them to cut employee hours.

"We are doing that because we had cut back on our expenses and we have shaved everything we could shave and there just wasn't anything else left," said Dr. Pam Fleege, Executive Director for Early Education and Care, Inc.

In the wake of the government shut down, Executive Director, Dr. Pam Fleege is worried about the programs future. 

"Our grant cycle ends in November. So, we have the rest of our funding for our year and it's not a lot but we have a little bit."

Once the time passes, they could have to face inevitible. 

"If congress still can't come to an agreement on funding, there is the definite possibility that we will have to close the program down temporarily until they do agree."

Many other head start programs are already facing that issue.

"Right now, there are approximately 19,000 children that aren't in Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the nation because of where their funding cycle is, they don't have any new money to draw from."

She is worried for her employees and worried for the families the program serves.

"If they don't have someone that they can trust taking care of their children, then they might have to give up their job, which in turn makes them not be able to pay their rent. It's just like dominos and they are all falling."

The Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Bay County have a total of 155 employees who serve 570 children. So if the day comes, that would mean more than 700 families affected.