Local families could struggle amid Government shutdown
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Some South Florida children could suffer if the shutdown continues to linger on.
Eliana Hurtado picks up her son everyday from Early Head Start at the United Way Campus off Southwest Third Avenue. "They're learning to be social; they're learning a lot of dynamics," Hurtado said. "It makes them be creative, being very stimulated."
The Head Start program is partially funded by the federal government, and Hurtado's young son, along with other children, may see their time at the program numbered, if republicans and democrats in Congress cannot get the government back up and running soon. "What it does to the kids, you know, they need it more than we do," Hurtado said. "They are developing, they are learning so much, and that's something that I don't want to stop for him."
Close to 5,000 kids are enrolled in Head Start across Miami-Dade County, including 60 kids at the Miami location where Hurtado has her son enrolled.
If the issues with the government continues, parents will soon be faced with keeping their children at home. "It really worries me. I mean, my kid is my only kid, and I need to be very concerned about that," Hurtado said.
Federal grants that fund Head Start expired Oct. 1, and as long as the government is shutdown, there will not be money feeding programs such as Head Start in Miami-Dade, Broward and beyond.
Around 1,200 kids across Florida are already directly impacted.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties said the Head Start in South Florida is safe for now, with the help of rainy day money. "I think that, right now, parents need to feel at ease," VP for the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education Gladys Montes said. "They need to allow the process to happen, not to be overly concerned but be cautious about it."
Also in South Florida, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children is on the verge of closing their doors. WIC provides healthy food and counseling for struggling families. "It's very good for me and my baby," Janet Simaon said.
WIC and Head Start are two vital programs for families in need. Now, the services provided are in need as well, waiting on Washington to make a decision. "You know, you gotta be concerned that if it's not there anymore. What are we gonna do?" Hurtado said.
If the Government shutdown does continue, the Head Start program at the United Way Campus in Miami has procedures in place to send kids, as well as staff, home.
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