The Gulf Coast Community Action Agency has lost federal funding for its Head Start Program, according to documents obtained by the Sun Herald.

It is unclear how this will immediately affect the seven Head Start Centers run by the agency. Barbara Courtney, the GCCAA director, did not returned phone calls.

None of the GCCAA board members responded to requests for comments.

“We are taking this action to ensure the health and safety of the children and families served by this agency,” Kenneth Wolfe of the federal Administration for Children and Families, which oversees the program, said in an email. “Our Office of Head Start will make every effort to minimize disruption in Head Start education and services to children and families.”

Board Secretary Valerie Hill, who represents the Harrison County Board of Supervisors on the board, said she didn’t know about the loss of funding.

The letter says funding was terminated because of five child abuse incidents at the Isiah Fredericks and Nichols Head Start centers. It says the GCCAA failed to ensure that it had an effective system in place to prevent staff from using corporal punishment and abusing children.

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