- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - Seven Head Start centers in Harrison County previously run by the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency are reopening Thursday, two days after students were scheduled to return to Head Start classes after winter break.

The centers will be run by the Community Development Institute, which is funded by the Office of Head Start in the federal Administration for Children and Families.

The Sun Herald reports (bit.ly/1ISZOMX) the GCCAA lost its federal Head Start designation, along with $9 million in federal money, Dec. 17 after a long appeals process. The termination of funding stems from allegations of five instances of child abuse between September 2013 and January 2014 and what the federal Health and Human Services Departmental Appeals Board deemed was an inadequate effort to resolve the problems.

The tumult began just as Head Start students started their winter break, so there was no disruption of services until this week.

The Community Development Institute will run the Head Start program in Harrison County until the ACF selects a local agency to take over.

An ACF spokesman said that process normally takes about a year, but the agency’s focus now is on the program’s transition to being run by CDI.

After GCCAA was stripped of its Head Start money — which made up about three-quarters of its revenue — and the state Department of Human Services also pulled its funding. The state is looking for another agency to take over the programs for those in need on the Coast.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com


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