MANASSAS, Va. -- As some of the big budget cuts and sequestration mandates begin trickling down to cities and towns nationwide, Virginia's Head Start program stands to lose 800 spaces for at risk 3- and 4-year-old children.
In response, Virginia Fair Share, a lobbying group that advocates for families and children, sponsored a petition with 6,000 signatures and enlisted some concerned mothers to deliver it to the Manassas office of Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
"That's a lot of children that are not gonna receive services," says Kim Williams, a mother of seven and a representative of the Virginia Head Start Association. "It's not just education for the child. ... There are also opportunities for parents to get their GED and get back into the workforce."
Head Start, a school-readiness program for young kids from low-income families, is not the only children's program to suffer cuts. Dana Forrest, of Herndon, has a 12-year-old child with Down syndrome who will lose the aide she needs to handle the seventh grade.
"Even in Fairfax County, which is one of the wealthiest counties in the country, there is no way they're gonna be able to give our kids the services they need," says Forrest. "I would have to spend more of my own money to make sure she gets the services she needs."
Fair Share is also asking Kaine to help roll back the cuts and prevent more.
A representative from Kaine's office accepted the petition and indicated he would make sure the senator is made aware of it.
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