Parents, city irate as kids are locked out of Head Start

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Joan Ohl, a federal commissioner for the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, the federal agency overseeing Head Start programs, said she “could not be sorrier” for the temporary closing, but blamed the civic association for the problem. Last month, the federal agency denied the Latin American Civic Association’s $10 million program application after finding it could not provide adequate service to preschoolers at 26 sites. The federal agency then appointed the Colorado-based Community Development Institute to run the program. But the institute could not obtain the proper state-issued child care permits and leases from the civic association, federal officials said. The civic association contends they were not given enough time, saying they were informed of the transition plan only two weeks ago. “(The federal agency and the institution) weren’t prepared and our kids aren’t in school this week because of them,” said Belinda Barragan, chair of the civic association’s board. “We are working in good faith.” On Tuesday, the association signed over leases to the federal government and agreed to co-license centers, allowing the institute to operate the day-care centers. An angry Los Angeles City Council called for county officials to explain what had happened at the Head Start schools to prompt their sudden closure. “These are our families, our children, who are suffering,” Council President Alex Padilla said. “We had been assured that there would not be an interruption in services. “We need to get some answers, and quick, on what can be done to reopen these schools. Twenty-six schools with 20 to 30 kids each: You do the math. It’s a lot of kids without care.” Rick De La Torre, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, declined to comment. Councilman Tony Cardenas said the closures present a particular hardship for single mothers and working families. “I know a lot of employers are not going to be very sympathetic to this and for a lot of women, it will be choice of taking care of their child or losing their job,” Cardenas said. Rachel Uranga, (818) 713-3741 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With more than 1,400 children locked out of Head Start classrooms in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys Tuesday, parents scrambled to find day care for their children as city leaders demanded answers from Head Start officials. The temporary shutdown came despite assurances from federal officials that there would be no interruption in services while an outside care provider took over operations from the Latin American Civic Association. Federal officials said the classrooms could re-open at 26 centers as early as Thursday, but parents were skeptical. “I am worried. What am I going to do to take care of my daughter?” said Ruth Castaneda, who had to ask her ailing, diabetic mother to care for her 4-year-old daughter Gina so she could go to work on Tuesday. last_img

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments