Recent Press Releases

Senate Passes Head Start Bill

Thune Applauds Increased Accountability

November 14, 2007

Washington, DC —  The U.S. Senate today passed legislation by a vote of 95-0 reauthorizing the Head Start program, which provides comprehensive, early childhood development services to low income children.

"The early years of any person's life are extremely important in their development," said Thune. "Head Start gives low income families the opportunity to provide their children important health, nutritional, social and educational services to be better prepared for the years of education ahead.

"The legislation we passed today also seeks to improve accountability in the Head Start program and to increase the academic focus of day to day education. I applaud these changes."

The Head Start reauthorization bill includes important safeguards against financial abuse in the Head Start program to improve the program for families and taxpayers. The conference report requires all Head Start grantees to make publicly available an annual report detailing how their money is spent, the sources from which funds are received and how the grantee performs in terms of meeting the requirements of the law. The bill also requires that all grants be designated for renewal every five years.

The Head Start program is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, which awards grants directly to local providers. Head Start grantees include public and private school systems, community agencies and faith-based organizations, in addition to home-based, nonprofit and for-profit entities, local governments and Indian tribes. Approximately 2,827 children in South Dakota participate in Head Start.

The bill will now be sent to the president for his signature.