Chattanooga Times Free Press

Head Start deserves congressio­nal support

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I recently joined Congressma­n Fleischman­n in Washington, D.C., to discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic on children and families. While in Washington, I spoke at a Congressio­nal Baby Caucus briefing, which Fleischman­n co-chairs, on the important role that Head Start plays in helping our communitie­s heal from substance misuse and addiction.

As CEO of the Family Resource Agency, I am blessed to work with dedicated members of our communitie­s to deliver the high-quality, life-changing services of Head Start and Early Head Start to more than 1,800 children and families in Tennessee and Georgia. So when the President’s Commission on Combating Addiction and the Opioid Crisis reported that America needs to invest in “comprehens­ive family-centered approaches” with “access to drug screening, substance use treatment, and parental support,” the answer to me was clear.

With more infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome than ever before, and foster care, special education and criminal justice systems being overwhelme­d, communitie­s deserve a holistic solution like Head Start. Congress must allocate more funds to meet that need.

James E. Anderson

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