DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The building blocks they play with are more than just toys to the kids at one Head Start program.
They're a chance to get a leg up.
"It would help out a lot of other parents if they had this," says Sabrina Harris whose daughter is in the program.
Just like the blocks, programs like Head Start require a delicate balance. One that has now been thrown off by what's going on at the top.
"It concerns me greatly that as we look to solve our nation's problems they get solved on the backs of little children and people who really can't afford the services they need," says Barbara Haxton with Ohio's Head Start Association.
The federal budget cuts from sequestration are going to force Head Start programs in the Miami Valley to cut nearly 300 kids and 45 workers.
"Everything we do in Head Start and Early Head Start leads to that school readiness," Haxton says. "These children who lose this service are going to lose that opportunity."
As an employee at one of the centers, Rachel Parks gets to see firsthand the difference Head Start can make.
"You see the growth," Rachel says. "Especially the kids that come here as an infant. You see the growth in the things they're learning here in the center."
Now she's watching her own child, 18-month old Phillip grow up at a center, but she doesn't know for how much longer.
"I'm very worried about it because not only would it cut me off of employment but be a hindrance to my child," Rachel says.
The Head Start cuts come at a time when the program has become more important than ever with the state wanting children to be able to read by third grade.
Officials are worried that if they fall behind building them back up won't be easy.
"We're not sure where these children will go if they lose Head Start," Haxton says.
Head Start officials say they're not sure yet when the cuts will start to be implemented.
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