FFYF has released the latest iteration of its annual state fact sheets, which draw on numerous data sources to offer details about the early childhood opportunities in each state made available through state and federal funding. In addition to information on funding and numbers of children and families served, the fact sheets include data on the impact of early learning and care on states’ economies, as well as the supply and cost of care in each state, which can limit parents’ ability to find and afford high-quality options.
These programs, overwhelmingly, are targeted at children from low-income families or who meet other eligibility criteria. At current funding levels, publicly funded early learning and care programs only reach a fraction of the eligible population they are intended to serve. For example, only 1 out of every 6 children nationwide who is eligible for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program receives assistance.
The overwhelming research shows that high-quality early learning has immense short- and long-term benefits for children’s healthy development, as well as their families’ overall economic security. Federal investments aimed at expanding access and increasing quality for more children have facilitated much of the progress at the state and local levels. Many state and community programs are funded exclusively with federal dollars, while others leverage federal funding to offer high-quality early learning and care opportunities beyond what is possible with state funding alone. Together, these investments make an effective mixed-delivery system that supports the care, education, and healthy development of young children.
In order to ensure that all families who want or need to access these opportunities are able to do so, a significant, sustained federal investment is needed to build a system of care and address the decades-long challenges that have held back children, families, and providers alike.
To learn more about the early childhood landscape in your state, click here.