TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Nine head start programs throughout Leon, Jefferson and Franklin counties closed their doors after the federal government shutdown.

About 400 children attend daycare at these head start centers run by the Capital Area Community Action Agency. The programs provide preschool, medical, dental, disability and nutritional services to children ages three and four.

Director Laurie Gan Leiner says many of the families are low-income households who don't have many other options.

"This is very devastating for me," said Gan Leiner, "because of what I see happening to our children, families and staff because again, it's going to affect the whole community."

Victoria Thomas sends her 4-year-old daughter to daycare at the head start center on Old Bainbridge Road in Tallahassee. Thomas is a student at Florida A & M University and says the center has been helping for providing more than just childcare.

"Not only has the daycare helped me with providing service while I'm at school," Thomas said, "but it also helps her with her motor skills, her speech and also preparing her for kindergarten."

These programs are federally funded and will stay closed until lawmakers reach a budget agreement.

 

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