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Government Shutdown Forces Early Head Start to Close Its Doors

The Early Head Start program in Dothan was supposed to get its yearly federal funding, but until Washington gets its act together, the program won't see a dime. Without the funding, the school can't keep its doors open, making Friday the school's last day.

It’s the last day of Early Head Start for 3-year-old Darrion Thompson.  Thompson’s school is closing. It's another causality of the government shutdown. The school depends solely on federal dollars and now funding has come to a screeching halt, sending parents and teachers scrambling.

 68 students are out without childcare and 25 people are without a job. Tamaria Lindsey is one of them. "For them to just one day decide to just shut something down  and not thinking about how it  affected  a lot of people that are in the low places that's having to go day-by -day and check by check.  "

Parents like Varquita Whitehurst feels like her child is getting the short-end of the stick. "It’s unfair that the kids are getting punished because of what's going on in the government. They're the main ones getting punished in this situation, plus the parents.

Allison Whaley is one of the parents that have to reconfigure her routine and find a new sitter she can afford. The single mother of three said it’s going to be difficult. “For us low income people who need help I feel they're wrong because they're taking something away from us. This program is also something our kids deserve to have.”

It' stories like Whaley’s that have the Early Head Start director so hurt. Rena Miller had to deliver the bad news to her staff and the parents that the school was closing and she doesn't know when it will open again. “We really didn't think it would happen to us since we are grant funded and our grant had already started. We already had are money in a pot somewhere in Washington, but they locked  us down because we are a part of head start and we're federally funded.  "

Miller is hoping congress can get their act together, because the impact of the partisan bickering  has trickled down to the kids.

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