Kidco Head Start, a nonprofit that serves low-income and special needs kids in Linn and Benton Counties, says over half of its income is federal funding. The program serves over 500 children and their families, providing day care, meals, and resources for parents seeking work or who would like to go back to school.
Earlier this year with sequester cuts, Kidco Head Start says it was forced to shut down its Brownsville location.
“It was absolutely devastating to our families,” said Executive Director Stephany Koehne. “We are continuing to serve Brownsville families because we were able to combine sites with one in Crawfordsville, but we did lose 17 spots.”
She says the organization had to turn away 17 children because there wasn’t enough funding. Koehne says as a nonprofit, the organization strives to help as many people as it can. And shutting down a site is not something she wants to happen again, not only because of the impact on the children and their families, but because of the impact it has on employees as well.
“We have 150 employees that A) pay taxes, and B) buy goods from their local communities,” she said. “So you know, you reduce employment that way. You’re impacting the local communities where these people are buying goods from the small businesses.”
Koehne says a third of the nonprofit’s employees were former Head Start parents. She says not only is the organization helping families get back on their feet, but in many cases, they are actually providing parents with work opportunities.