Detroit groups get Head Start funds in wake of DPS blunder

Jun 18, 2014

A federal pilot program will fund more than 1,000 additional Head Start spots in Detroit and additional services for those families and children.
A federal pilot program will fund more than 1,000 additional Head Start spots in Detroit and additional services for those families and children.
Credit Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

A group of organizations in Detroit announced that today they got official word they'll be sharing around $50 million in federal funds over the course of five years for early childhood education programs.

The money is going to community organizations to open up more than 1,000 Head Start spots. The organizations will also provide additional services to the children and families enrolled in their programs and try to develop new curriculum for Head Start teachers.

The money for Detroit is part of a federal government push to spur innovation in the Head Start program the rest of the country can learn from. There are five other pilot program sites around the country, but Detroit is getting the lion's share of the federal dollars.

One of the groups getting the money is Starfish Family Services. Starfish CEO Ann Kalass says families can start signing up soon. She says information should be available over the next few weeks and she would encourage families to "keep their eyes and ears open for information."

Kalass also says she hopes the announcement of these new spots should ease parents' worried about affordable preschool options. Parents of around 900 Detroit kids may have been worried about finding Head Start options after the Detroit Public Schools recently admitted they lost around 900 Head Start spots because they didn't turn in their application for the program funds on time.