As you and I know, the problems our communities face can’t be fixed by Washington’s one-size-fits-all solutions. Each state, region, city, town, and neighborhood is different. And with those differences come different needs.
That’s why I remain laser-focused on issues in our community and I keep an open-line of communication with you and local leaders across the district. One issue that was brought to my attention more than a year ago was a major problem with the federal Head Start program in Cabarrus County. There were egregious mistakes made by the interim vendor in charge of the program which had a devastating effect on the at-risk, low-income students and families Head Start is supposed to serve. After learning about the issues from parents and community leaders, I immediately went to work. One of my goals was to bring all sides together and help cut through the red tape to ensure there were no more delays in getting the program back up and running.
A new grantee was announced in June, and dozens of community leaders and I are working around the clock to let parents know they can be confident in the program and students can begin enrolling. After meeting with the National Director for Head Start in Washington earlier this year, I asked her to come down to Concord and hold a community meeting to answer questions of parents, teachers and community leaders. We held the meeting last week, and I hope folks now know they can trust that when they enroll their kids in the local program, they’ll receive the care and compassion they deserve.
As your Congressman, I’m committed to ensuring our community’s most vulnerable young children can get the education and services they need. I support the Head Start program and know it has the power to change lives— in fact, my mom was a Head Start teacher and the impact she had on her students’ lives was profound. I want to thank the National Director of Head Start, Dr. Deborah Bergeron, for her leadership, and I want to commend her and her team for taking our concerns seriously and working with us. They’ve stepped up in a big way and I appreciate it.
That said, I believe Congress needs to exercise more oversight, not just here in our district, but across the nation. This isn’t the only place across the country where allegations of serious problems have been made with local Head Start programs. These programs serve the most vulnerable children in communities from the Carolinas to California, and I want to ensure we have oversight so these children can get the best pre-school education possible. I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Bergeron and her ability to ensure this does not happen again in our district. I also want to guarantee no other family or child is denied access to these vital education programs.
At the end of the day, we have one thing in common: we care deeply about the children in our community. Education is the great equalizer, and every child deserves the very best resources, tools and encouragement to truly help them reach their full potential.
If you or any local family members want more information about the Cabarrus County Head Start Program or want to enroll, please visit my website www.Hudson.House.Gov or call Save the Children Cabarrus County at (704) 207-5598.
Richard Hudson represents North Carolina’s 8th District, which includes Cabarrus and other counties.