More Than One Quarter Of U.S. Head Start Preschools Charged With Safety Violations

More than a quarter of Head Start programs across the nation have been linked to safety violations, often including reports where young children were left unattended and more than 450 abuse cases.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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454 abuse incidents involving Head Start early education programs have been discovered in a new Health and Human Services Inspector General report. In addition, a whopping 27% of the program participants were in violation of child safety protocols. This was discovered throughout a five-year period spanning between 2015 and early 2020 disallowing anyone involved from blaming the pandemic or pandemic-related stress. 

Head start programs have been heralded for helping families give their children better educational opportunities from a young age. It is a federal government program funded by taxpayers and designed to aid low-income/disadvantaged children. Unfortunately, the report recorded at least 1,029 incidents involving unsafe conditions. 

Over 350 of these cases included children being left unsupervised at Head Start locations. Some were even left alone outside in the parking lot, or on the street. This is terrifying news to parents with children currently enrolled. 

Child endangerment and child abuse are serious issues. Early childhood experiences highly affect children and help shape them into who they become later in life. Being abandoned by Head Start workers, or even physically abused by them not only calls the program’s usefulness into question, but also the legality of utilizing taxpayer funding to employ childcare workers. 

Universal preschool is a hot political topic. Progressives claim that low-income families need extra support with child care in order to make ends meet, but numerous studies have proven that when children leave their parents’ care too early and are placed in schools at young ages, they are more likely to be misdiagnosed with ADHD, develop emotional problems, and commit crimes in later years.

Now with this new Head Start report coming to light, early childhood education programs are being placed under even more scrutiny. With more than one million children currently enrolled in Head Start programs nationwide, these have come to drain $11 billion from the federal budget. Taxpayers have essentially now paid for the abuse and neglect of children at the hand of government-controlled childcare institutions –many of which neglect to report incidents. 

This amount of child safety violations displays the lack of proper management within the system. While Head Start programs were initially created to offer community support, they are now harming more than a quarter of the children enrolled. Whether parents will seek litigation, or even a class action lawsuit against federal officials in charge of the program is uncertain, what is known is that child abuse in early education is not uncommon and families need to carefully vet every individual and institution they place their children into.

head start

These Head Start failures are funded by the $11 billion funneled into these programs each year. Over a thousand children are affected and that does not include all of the incidents that have not been reported or investigated. It is a chilling revelation that displays the dangers of big government institutions, which are often subject to a lack of oversight and connected to mismanaging funds at the expense of the very people they are designed to help.