Daycares prepare to bridge gap of closing Head Start programs - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Daycares prepare to bridge gap of closing Head Start programs

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Following the announcement that the Handy Head Start program will close because it is funded by federal dollars, many parents have been left searching for childcare that they cannot afford.

The owner of a local daycare blocks away from the school said their phones have been ringing off the hook since parents and community members got the news Tuesday morning. She said the closure is simply unfair for the children.

Melissa Dollerson is the owner and director of Growing Seeds in Florence. She said she was shocked to hear the news.

"To learn that we were losing them is a big blow," she said.

Dollerson understands the importance of early childhood education, as well as the hardships many parents now face with the closure of the Head Start program.

"Not everybody can afford private daycare, but for those who can and those who will try to struggle to keep their children in a structured program, you have us here, and daycare centers who are here now," she said.

Dollerson and other local daycares are enrolling new children and said they will assist parents who need the help. She said Handy has been the foundation of the community for years, and hopes the community doesn't give up on it now.

"Let's fight this thing if we have to, to try and get Handy back, we'll do that too. But in the meantime I'm here and there are other daycare centers ready to take them in and continue what Handy started," said Dollerson.

Due to the lack of federal funding, the last day for Handy Head Start is Oct. 11.

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