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October 2, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Federal government shutdown sequesters kids
During the federal government shutdown, the National Institutes of Health plans to turn away roughly 200 patients each week from its Washington, D.C.-based clinical research center, including children with cancer, according to The Washington Post. Patients enroll in NIH clinical trials after conventional medical treatments have failed. But with nearly three-quarters of the NIH staff being furloughed, taking on new patients is not an option — even if that means some of the patients will get worse, perhaps die.
This is not the shutdown’s only effect on the lives of struggling children here in Washington and around the nation. If it only lasts a few days, Education Week notes there will likely be little impact on schools and districts. But if the shutdown and furloughs continue in the long-term, it could cause the kinds of problems outlined in this report.
The roughly $22 billion in federal funds sent to states and school districts to cover Title 1 efforts for low-income kids, special education and other programs will still go out the door. However:
“A protracted delay in Department obligations and payments beyond one week would severely curtail the cash flow to school districts, colleges and universities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies that depend on the Department to support their services,” a department memo warned.