WASHINGTON, D.C. - New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) and Chuck Schumer (D- NY) recently announced more than eleven million in federal funding is going towards early head start programs across New York. One of six programs getting part of that funding is based in Chautauqua county.  

“Childcare is one of the critical pieces to allow families to be at work,” said Bill Vogt, the head start director with Chautauqua Opportunities, INC. Vogt said they help about 360 families every year in the community.  

“We serve the entire county of Chautauqua providing care for children starting from six weeks to five years old,” said Vogt. “We offer childcare from seven in the morning until five in the evening and we also partner with three of our local school districts for their [inaudible] program.” 

Recently, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand announced part of an eleven-million-dollar federal grant is headed to Chautauqua Opportunities. The Senators said the funding comes from the Department of Health and Human Services and it will be used to provide comprehensive early childhood education and support services to low-income children and families.  

Vogt said this is a renewal of their head start grant and a huge help for their program.  

“We’ve been providing head start services since 1965 in Chautauqua county,” said Vogt. “This grant is allowing us to continue our partnership with one of the local daycare that expands our services to an additional 80 families and so we’re very excited about that. Childcare is very expensive in New York and even if you have one child in care it can make the difference between whether or not you should even work or not because of how expensive it can be. The average cost of care in Chautauqua county is over 200 dollars a week for an infant, so this allows us to provide free and low cost childcare to low-income families that are working.”