County Head Start programs currently unaffected by government shutdown

Published 11:40 am Monday, October 7, 2013

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Although Head Start programs throughout the country have been closing their doors in the wake of the federal government shutdown, programs in Shelby County — and most of the programs in Alabama — are currently unaffected.

The reason for that is because most of the state’s programs, including the six in Shelby County, operate under a fiscal year that runs from March to February. Therefore, those funds have already been set aside for the fiscal year, which means most of the state’s Head Start programs could function through the start of next year with no problems, said Marion Dunlap, the executive director of a state Community Action Committee.

However, Dunlap said a few of the state’s programs, which operate on a fiscal year that runs from October through the end of September, have had to close their doors.

“I feel bad for those who have had to close,” she said. “I think it’s six in the state of Alabama that have been affected.”

Dunlap said she’s not hearing much from parents right now, since the majority of the state’s Head Start programs are still months away from the possibility of having to shut down.

“We feel like we’re blessed because it’s not affecting us yet,” she said.

Head Start programs provide comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Head Start is an office of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There are six Shelby County Head Start programs, located in Alabaster, Calera, Columbiana, Montevallo, Shelby and Vincent. For more information on those programs, visit and click on “Find a Head Start program by using the Head Start locator.”