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      Early Head Start Program cuts leave low-income parents stuck with daycare bill

      Bright Beginnings Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser

      Missouri lawmakers have cut millions of dollars from the state's early head start programs, which pays for daycare for children of low-income parents. The budget cuts leave these parents scrambling, trying to figure out how to pay for daycare for the month of July.

      Bright Beginnings Infant Toddler Center in Kirksville is one of the day care's affected. It has 24 kids that are enrolled in the Early Head Start Program. Right now, they will not be able to attend daycare in July because their parents can't afford to pay for it.

      In an attempt to defeat the budget crisis, the parents and staff hosted a Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser and Silent Auction Saturday evening, in hopes of raising the more than $12,000 needed to pay for the kids' daycare costs for July.

      The parents said they are in dire need of the early head start funding.

      "It's very important that we raise enough money because a lot of us don't have any alternate family around here or anything," said Megan Brawner, a single mom whose daughter is enrolled in the Early Head Start Program. "A lot of us work and go to school and a lot of us are single parents so we don't have the resources that other people may have."

      "We are hoping that we'll be able to get those donations tonight so that she has a place to go so that we can work and provide for her," said Danny Dees, whose three month old daughter is also enrolled in the Early Head Start Program.

      Jamison Street Early Head Start and the Early Childhood Learning Center affiliated with the Kirksville R-III School District are also facing the same cuts to their Early Head Start Programs.

      "Early Head Start is working towards finding funding, federal and state money," said Tiffany Miller, Director of Bright Beginnings Infant Toddler Center. "They're waiting on other grants and other things to come in to see if they'll have money to start up again in August. So in August, they will have some money. We just don't know how much money they will have . We're hoping they'll be able to fund most of the 70 spots. At this time, that's unknown."

      Miller said Bright Beginnings will have to lay off some of its staff as well, if they do not raise enough money.