A group of Michigan lawmakers are asking the Obama administration to boost Head Start funding for children in Flint, Mich., over concerns about the impact of the city's water crisis.
Lawmakers want extra education assistance for Flint
Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Dems demand Flint funding promise 'in writing' from GOP Senate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal MORE (D-Mich) and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) sent a letter to Blanca Enriquez, the director of Head Start at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), asking that the department make Head Start available for every child in Flint.
“Thousands of Flint residents have been exposed to the lead-contaminated water, including children, who are the most vulnerable to the irreversible effects of lead poisoning," the lawmakers wrote in Monday's letter. "The developmental and behavioral problems from lead poisoning will require years of special treatment and wrap-around care for these children."
The letter comes amid growing concerns over contaminated drinking water in Flint, Mich., with President Obama declaring a state of emergency for Flint and the surrounding area.
Susan Hedman, a regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief responsible for Michigan, is also resigning amid charges that she did not do enough to prevent the drinking water crisis. She said earlier this month that her office knew in April 2015 that Flint's push to change its water supply could result in increased pipe corrosion and spiked lead levels.
The senators say that Head Start can work on trying to offset any negative health effects from children who are impacted by lead exposure because of the water crisis.
Congress gave Early Head Start an extra $135 million as part of an end-of-the-year spending bill to expand the program.
The senators are asking that Flint, Mich., be included in the expansion and the funding be given "as soon as practicable" and be guaranteed for at least a five-year period.