Sunday, May 19, 2024

Head Start Workers Abused and Neglected Children, New Report Reveals

Approximately one in four grant recipients of the taxpayer-funded Head Start were involved in incidents of child abuse, lack of supervision, or the unauthorized release of small children between October 2015 and May 2020.

This, according to a report that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General released Wednesday. 

The report mentioned 1,029 individual incidents.

Among them:

• A four-year-old child at one Head Start location was unsupervised for five to 10 minutes. The child left the school building and ran into the street.

• A bus driver left a child unattended on the bus for an unknown period during cold weather. One of the child’s parents discovered discoloration on the child’s feet later that day. The following day a doctor discovered evidence of frostbite.

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• One Head Star director observed a teacher dragging a child across the floor on three separate occasions and then placing the child’s cot in the office and turning off the light. When the child got off his cot the teacher roughly pushed him into one of the children’s cubbies and stood in front of the cubby to prevent him from getting out.

• Head Start staff released a child to an unauthorized adult. The child’s location was unknown for more than an hour.

• A teacher grabbed a 21-month-old child by the arm and shoved him against the wall, injuring him. 

Of the 454 incidents of child abuse described in federal monitoring reports: 

• 374 incidents included physical abuse or corporal punishment, defined as hitting, spanking, shaking, slapping, twisting, pulling, squeezing, or biting a child.

• 102 incidents included emotional or verbal abuse

• 54 incidents included prohibited disciplinary practices, defined as using isolation; binding or tying; taping a child’s mouth; using or withholding food as a punishment or reward; using toilet learning or training methods that punish, demean, or humiliate a child; or using physical activity or outdoor time as a punishment or reward; eight incidents included sexual abuse.

• Two percent of Head Start grant recipients were cited for uauthorized release 

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Head Start is a nationwide grant program to provide early childhood education and social services to children, birth to age five, whose families meet income or other eligibility requirements. Head Start programs served approximately 861,000 children in Fiscal Year 2021.

As reported last year, “the nearly $8 billion Head Start program has little to no impact on the cognitive, social-emotional, or health outcomes of participants, or the parenting skills of their parents.”

“Alarmingly, participation in Head Start actually had some negative effects on enrolled children,” reported.

“Federal researchers reported worse peer relations and lower teacher-assessed math ability for Head Start children.”

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