Skip Navigation

FY2021 Funding Bill Includes $230 Million Increase for Federal Early Learning and Care Programs

News December 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressional leaders released the details of a federal spending bill to fund the government through the remainder of FY2021. The package includes important funding increases for core federal early childhood education programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program and Head Start & Early Head Start.

“Federal investment are the foundation of our nation’s early childhood education and care system. The funding provided in this end-of-year spending bill are necessary for children living in poverty and their families who rely on these programs every day,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Year-to-year, lawmakers come together to increase funding for early childhood programs, making the care and education of our youngest learners a rare, unifying issue in Washington. We are grateful for the bipartisan Congressional leaders who continue to prioritize these important investments, and we look forward to working with lawmakers in the new Congress as we seek to strengthen and improve these critical programs.”

FY2021 Early Learning and Care Funding Levels:

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
    • $5,911,000,000, an increase of $85,000,000 over FY2020
  • Head Start and Early Head Start
    • $10,748,095, an increase of $135,000,000 over FY2020
  • Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5)
    • $275,000,000, level with FY2020
  • IDEA Part B Preschool Grants
    • $397,620,000, an increase of $3,500,000 over FY2020
  • IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families
    • $481,850,000, an increase of $4,850,000 over FY2020
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS)
    • $55,000,000, an increase of $2,000,000

In addition to this funding, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate released on Sunday the final details of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, which includes $10 billion in funding to stabilize the child care industry. The measure also includes $250 million for the Head Start program. Both measures are essential to the success of child care and early learning programs in different ways.

Earlier this year, FFYF co-hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with the Bipartisan Congressional Pre-K Caucus to highlight the importance of increased funding for crucial early learning and care programs. Later, FFYF compiled all of the “Dear Colleague” letters members of the House and Senate sent to FY2021 appropriators calling for robust funding for early childhood education programs. The six letters demonstrate a steady increase in the number of lawmakers who support early learning programs, including a record 47 Republicans — highlighting just how popular these effective programs are across the political spectrum. This year also saw a new bipartisan letter supporting quality early childhood education by calling for additional CCDBG and IDEA funding. What is more, the Preschool Development Grant Dear Colleague letter had over 100 signers, an increase of 25 members since last year. The six letters from both the House and Senate, garnered 279 signatures.

Support for early childhood education remains overwhelmingly bipartisan among voters. According to a recent FFYF poll, voters overwhelmingly say high-quality, affordable child care for families with young children is an essential service—just like healthcare and education. Additionally, 83% of voters in key electoral battleground states say that candidates for office, including for president, should have plans and policies to help working parents afford high-quality child care.

The First Five Years Fund is the leading bipartisan federal advocacy organization working to ensure all children from birth through age five have equal access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality care and education to support their healthy development and help them achieve their full potential in school and life. FFYF seeks to expand federal support for all early learning and care opportunities that are high-quality and focused first on serving those children most-at-risk.

Stay Updated

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