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  Comments (9) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
LETTER: Head Start Programs Essential
I hate the word “poverty.” Does anyone want to be “poor?” I didn’t. The term “poverty level” is used as a marker identifying individuals without sufficient income to sustain their lives.

I had hardworking parents and married a man with a good income. But after 12 years as stay-at-home wife/mother, I became a single mom with no income. We quickly slid down the slippery slope into poverty.

Government and private assistance enabled me to receive vocational training. In four years I was self-sufficient. My children and I have attended universities and are successful, contributing members of society. My grandchildren are not impoverished.

Two programs that helped my children and continue helping children move out of poverty are Head Start and Early Head Start (HS/EHS). They put children from low-income families onto the equal opportunity playing field. Children are prepared for school and introduced to healthy life skills. Infants and pre-school children need positive interaction with adults and social interaction with other children to mature normally. Head Start and Early Head Start are the only places some of our Montana children get such needs met.

These programs work with the entire family. Parents make essential decisions for their children’s well-being while on their local HS/EHS advisory boards. HS/EHS case managers meet regularly with families to set personal/family goals to improve living conditions and increase income. Research has shown that parenting skills are improved. Families participate in social activities with a supportive community.

Our country cannot afford to leave future generations in the dark, despair of poverty. Automatic federal budget cuts start March 1. I encourage everyone, whatever your political loyalties, to contact Sens. Baucus and Tester and Rep. Daines NOW asking their vote to keep Head Start and Early Head Start without budget cuts.

Janice McCaffrey
On 02-23-13, Fast commented....
All socialized programs should be abolished starting with Farm subsidies, Student loans, Social security, Medicare/Medicaid, welfare, etc. etc.
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