Skip Navigation

Congress Approves $260 Million Funding Increase for Federal Early Childhood Programs

News September 26, 2018

Washington, D.C. – In a critical bipartisan House vote, Congress has approved a FY2019 “minibus” appropriations package that includes $260 million in increases to the federal early childhood education programs. Notably, in addition to a $200 million increase to funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, lawmakers voted to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program by $50 million, building on the historic $2.37 billion increase the program received in FY2018 through a bipartisan deal made by House and Senate leaders.

The funding package approved today, which also includes FY2019 funding for the Department of Defense, as well as a short-term Continuing Resolution to fund the rest of the government through December 7, 2018, was overwhelmingly approved in a 361-61 vote, and now awaits the president’s signature.

“Congress has again prioritized the care and education of America’s young children, building on years of bipartisan progress and commitment from lawmakers,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “The funding levels included in this bill will support greater access to, and the quality of early childhood education programs that are proven to support children’s healthy development and prepare them for a lifetime of achievement. We are grateful to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House & Senate for their unwavering support for children from birth through age five.”

Earlier this month, a Congressional Conference committee made up of bipartisan representatives from the House and Senate reached agreement on this funding “minibus” package, after negotiating appropriations legislation from the House and Senate.

Take a look at the final FY2019 funding numbers as approved today:
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
$5.3 billion — $50 million above FY2018

Early Head Start / Head Start$10.1 billion — $200 million above FY2018

Preschool Development Grants$250 million — Level with FY2018

Child Care Means Parents in School$50 million — Level with FY2018

IDEA Part B Preschool Grants$391.12 million — $10 million above FY2018

IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families      
$470 million — Level with FY2018

Research shows high-quality early learning and care from birth through age five benefits the academic, social, and emotional skills of children later in life and contributes to improved long-term societal outcomes. The high-quality early childhood education programs included in today’s appropriations package play a critical role in ensuring that all children, regardless of where they start in life, have the opportunity to build a foundation for lifelong success.

FFYF is committed to working with stakeholders in the coming months to build upon the robust federal support for early childhood education programs so that all children can access high-quality opportunities that help them reach their full potential.


The First Five Years Fund provides knowledge, data and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. FFYF helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children.

Stay Updated

Receive monthly updates on the latest news, policy, and actions to advance federal investment in children and their families.