Statement for SMILE CEO Dr. Chris Williams:
LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Last night, SMILE Community Action Agency received word from the Administration for Children and Families that federal funding for its Head Start/ Early Head Start Program has been temporarily suspended, effective at 5:00pm this afternoon.
SMILE is taking immediate legal action to challenge the notice of suspension. In the interim, Community Development Institute Head Start (CDI) will begin providing Head Start services.
“We have adhered to every request from the Administration for Children and Families and have filed our appeal to their July 11 termination decision, citing the corrections we have made within the program to bring it back fully into compliance. Head Start/Early Head Start has been a good program for this community for decades, educates almost 1500 children a year and employs 350 people. It is a population made up predominantly of economically disadvantaged children. Students and teachers are preparing for school in two weeks. Our team will spend the weekend planning next steps and working to determine how to best move forward and guarantee these kids and employees have everything they need to begin their school year in a positive direction,” said Dr. Chris Williams, SMILE Community Action Agency CEO.