ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY - The sequestration in Washington hits home.
Last year, Pennsylvania received 232 million dollars in federal funding. But the stalemate in Washington may cut that by more than 11 million this year. WTAJ News found the early learning program "Head Start", is slated to take a big hit.
Head Start in Altoona is just one of the federally funded programs that are taking an immediate hit financially. 5% this fiscal year, and moving closer to 10% after that.
Head Start takes kids from high risk families and prepares them to go to kindergarten. It costs nothing to the families in need. Four year old Jordan Evans' mom Deanne says Jordan's gotten one-on-one attention to help combat his aspergers.
"He has a hard time with social interaction. And he still does, but he's doing a lot better since he's been enrolled in Head Start."
The Altoona Head Start has served around 500 kids this year, they usually have a waiting list of 30 to 50.
Ruth Anne Akers is the Executive Director of Head Start. She has been part of early learning programs for decades. She says they help many of the kids that come in with physicals or dental work. Akers knows that facing these cuts, they'll have to shrink their class size and may cut staff.
"...If we have to cut children, realistically we're going to be taking a look at cutting staff."
Evans says as a single mom she needs Head Start. She doesn't know where Jordan would be without it.
"...Academically and socially he would be so far behind, and he would really struggle going into Kindergarten. I don't know if he'd be able to do it."
For every federal dollar invested in Head Start, the program says seven dollars gets put back into the economy because of its positive impact the children.