Not long ago, Bob Ruseau, a stay-at-home dad who lives in Medford, Mass., ran into an old friend from the neighborhood who said she was surprised by how much his 5-year-old son had changed since she’d last seen him. “She remembered Matthew as a shy, withdrawn, little boy,” Ruseau recently recalled, “and now he’s totally different,” the Huffington Post reports. Ruseau was fairly sure he knew what accounted for the change. When Matthew was 3, he started going to Head Start, a federally funded early-childhood program that serves low-income families. About a year later, Matthew’s little sister followed suit. Ruseau said they’ve both “blossomed” as a result of the experience. But now the local center may lose its funding, and if that happens, Ruseau’s daughter may miss out on the opportunity to go to Head Start for a second year. “Honestly, we’re not sure what we’re going to do,” he said. “She’ll be with me, I guess.” Thousands of parents around the country may find themselves in a similar fix this year thanks to a controversial new Obama administration rule…

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staff and wire services reports