Feds award $2.3 MIL for American Samoa Head Start projects

WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) has awarded a discretionary grant of $2,295,423 to the American Samoa Department of Education, Early Childhood Division, for Head Start projects throughout the territory. 
Authorized by Congress in 1966, Head Start began as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The federal program is designed to promote school readiness of children from low-income families from birth to 5 years old.
According to USDHHS, the Head Start grant was previously awarded annually to the American Samoa Government for 40 years.  Under new law, the grant is subject to competition and eventual conversion to 5-year grant periods.  Given the positive evaluation of American Samoa’s Head Start programs, the Territory qualified to have its grant converted to the first 5-year project cycle without having to compete.
 The project period will begin on August 1, 2013 and end on July 31, 2018, at which point American Samoa will compete for a renewed grant.  The initial grant awarded this past week will fund the first year of the project cycle. 
“I am pleased to know that Head Start grant is continuing to benefit the children of American Samoa and give them the proper education they need to succeed in school and in life,” Cong. Faleomavaega said in a press release announcing the award.  
“For decades, this funding has provided our Territory the tools to help the youngest among our population. But it is also the hard work of our educational leaders that has helped sustain the program in American Samoa.”
“I want to thank Secretary Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and her team for their support of early childhood education in American Samoa. I also extend my gratitude to the Director of our American Samoa Department of Education Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education Milaneta Tinitali, and all of our teachers for their service in preparing children across the Territory to get a head start as they prepare for their school years,” Faleomavaega concluded.
Source: Faleomavaega's office


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