Skip to content
June 25th, 2024
Ranking Members Grijalva, McGovern and Rep. Vasquez Seek to Understand Barriers to Head Start Enrollment for Native Children

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rules Committee Ranking Member James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), and Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) today sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an assessment of the challenges — and federal efforts to address those challenges — that American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children face to enrolling in Head Start early childhood education programs.

In their letter, the lawmakers highlight the benefits of Head Start programs in improving both cognitive abilities and social-emotional skills for children from low-income families. However, as they describe, enrollment remains low, including for AI/AN children:

“Despite these benefits, Head Start enrollment has been a national challenge, in part due to labor shortages among early childhood educators. On March 23, 2024, President Biden signed into law additional flexibility for Tribes to broaden Head Start eligibility for the purpose of supporting Head Start enrollment in tribal areas.   Further, in recent years, the Office of Head Start has taken steps to support language revitalization, such as developing resources in support of Native languages.”

To better understand Head Start enrollment issues, the lawmakers are requesting 1) an assessment of challenges to enrolling AI/AN children, 2) an assessment of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to address these challenges, and 3) an assessment of Head Start’s efforts to incorporate cultural engagement and native language revitalization.

READ the full letter to GAO here.

# # #

Back To News