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There is some good news on the federal front for early child care and education programs. Despite major spending cuts in the FY2011 budget deal, Congress increased funding for Early Head Start, Head Start, and child care in the final FY2011 budget.
The FY2011 budget includes:
But there is still work to do. The FY2012 budget proposed by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan and passed out of the House earlier this month would roll-back funding for early childhood programs to pre 2008 levels. Although programs for young children do not face cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, they— along with other critical support for children—are in danger of being back on the chopping block for next year’s budget.
Learn more about the federal budget process through CDF’s Budget Watch and take action today.
Federal Head Start and child care funds are in limbo. Having passed its sixth Continuing Resolution, Congress has until April 8th to agree on a budget that will fund our nation’s government or approve a seventh temporary spending measure. Fortunately H.R. 1—the disastrous House proposed budget hat would have made drastic cuts to child care and Head Start and resulted in a loss of service for over 218,000 children in Head Start and 150,000 children in subsidized child care—did not receive the 60 votes needed to get out of the Senate. Nor was the Senate able to pass its alternative budget proposal that would have increased funding for Head Start and child care. As negotiations continue, check back here often for updates on how young children are faring in federal budget discussions. For a complete assessment of the budget, go to CDF’s Budget Watch column.
A reincarnate of the Early Learning Challenge Fund, the Supporting State Systems of Early Learning Act introduced in early March by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) would assist states in building and strengthening their early learning systems. The bill would ensure that more low-income children ages zero to five have access to high-quality early learning opportunities that prepare them for success in school and in life. States would be awarded funding in two ways: Quality Pathways Grants for those states that have demonstrated progress in building high-quality pre-school programs, and Development Grants for states that wish to establish and maintain high-quality pre-school but are still developing their system.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation in February that will provide early care and education to all children across the country from six-weeks-old through kindergarten. The Foundations for Success Act would give young children and their families a full range of supports and services including pre-school, child care and parenting programs. A competitive grant would allow 10 states to pilot the program with additional states being phased in after three years. For more information on the need for comprehensive services for young children and families, click here for a booklet compiled by Sen. Sanders staff.