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Detroit stands to lose millions in Head Start money

Wayne Co. Commissioner Ilona Varga
Wayne Co. Commissioner Ilona Varga

Detroit is in danger of losing millions of dollars in federal Head Start money. Head Start provides early childhood education for low-income kids.

The city department that runs Head Start has been in trouble with the federal government for failing to fix problems uncovered in audits – including accounting errors and misspent funds.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reportedly looking to Wayne County to take over the program. Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga says chronic under-enrollment is another problem the feds are trying to fix:

"All children who are eligible ought to be able to go to Head Start, and I don’t think that’s the case right now. So if we can step in and help the children, I am all for it."

Varga says for now, the county is looking at a pilot program that would serve fewer than 400 Detroit kids. Right now Detroit Head Start programs enroll more than 6,500 children.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.