House panel to summon ACUDEN chief to public hearings on move to remove Peñuelas as Head Start
By The Star Staff
Rep. Juan José Santiago Nieves, who chairs the Municipal Affairs Committee in the island House of Representatives, confirmed this week that the panel will summon the director of the Administration for the Care and Integrated Development of Children (ACUDEN by its Spanish acronym), Roberto Pagán, and officials from the Municipality of Peñuelas, following the controversial announcement to withdraw the administration of the Head Start Program from the municipality, which has been administering the federal program for 25 years.
“My fellow representative José ‘Cheíto’ Rivera Madera requested public hearings to reveal the true reasons of the ACUDEN director concerning this action that would affect more than 300 children and almost a hundred employees who benefit from these services,” Santiago Nieves said. “The southern zone of Puerto Rico has been particularly affected by earthquakes [...] and the pandemic. These 300 children must continue to receive their services, and ACUDEN must cooperate with that. It is their legal obligation.”
“Our Municipal Affairs Committee has always been very active in defense of the services that the municipalities offer citizens,” added the District 28 representative (Comerío, Naranjito, Corozal and Barranquitas). “In this case, it is about the education and development of our children in the country’s southern region. Our agenda will be to clarify the situation and find a way for the services to remain in the municipality since they are the ones who are closest to the citizens, and the decentralization of essential services to the municipalities is one of our main legislative missions.”