- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The Gulf Coast Community Action Agency has lost its federal Head Start designation and $9 million in federal money.

Media outlets report that Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services Departmental Appeals Board upheld the decision to terminate federal funding to the program following recurring allegations of child abuse and failure to report those incidents to state authorities.

The Head Start program, which serves 1,368 children at seven Harrison County locations, will be taken over by the Community Development Institute.

The termination of funding stems from an April 2014 notice sent from the Administration of Children and Families to the Agency regarding five incidents of child abuse or corporal punishment.

The Agency issued a statement saying it had received notification of the ruling but offered little other information.

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