Our new analysis of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. shows that the existing patchwork of federal and state early learning and care programs only reaches a fraction of income-eligible families. Federal funding and programs benefit families in every state and Congressional district, and serve as the foundation for America’s entire child care system — or lack thereof. And while these programs enjoy widespread bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, Congress has failed to meaningfully invest funding that would reach millions of children who are eligible to participate — much less the millions more whose families earn above the income threshold but still struggle to find and afford quality care options.

Our analysis found: 

  • In almost all states, CCDBG reaches less than 15% of eligible children. 
    • In 50% of states, CCDBG reaches less than 10% of eligible children. 
  • In a vast majority of all states, Head Start reaches less than 1 in 5 eligible children. 
  • 65% of children nationwide have all available parents in the workforce; in some states it is as high as 75%. 
  • In some states, including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, and Utah, less than 10% of eligible families are reached by the child care subsidy program that relies on both state and federal funding.
  • In roughly half of all states, only 20% of 3- and 4- year olds are being served by publicly funded pre-K programs.
  • In half of all states, the majority of residents are living in a child care desert.  

Take a look at the early learning and care landscape in your state: