Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 --- 5:45 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A report released by the inspector general of the Health and Human Department spells out alarming safety violations in Head Start centers around the country.
Head Start is the federal program that provides early education services to nearly 1 million low-income kids nationwide.
Most Head Start centers audited for the report released Tuesday had cleaning supplies and other chemicals in areas accessible to children. More than half had playground equipment not in good repair.
One had a children's bathroom with broken lighting, and another was found to have a machete left by workers near a play area.
Many of the centers did not comply fully with federal Head Start or state requirements to conduct criminal and other background checks.
The report included audits of 175 facilities in eight states.
Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.