Congress Set to Approve Critical Funding Increases for Key Federal Early Childhood Education Programs
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressional leaders released their final FY2023 omnibus spending package, which includes prioritizing more than $2.8 billion in funding increases for core federal early learning and care programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, Head Start and Early Head Start and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDGB5) program. The bill notably includes a 30% increase in CCDBG funding, the primary federal child care assistance program, at a time when parents need support the most.
As costs continue to rise for parents and child care providers are exiting the field, this critical increase in funding will help ensure more families have access to the quality child care they rely on to be able to go to work and provide for their family. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle used this opportunity to underscore the importance of early childhood education programs for families and our economy. Today, we urge Congress to get this over the finish line.
FFYF Executive Director Sarah Rittling released the following statement in response:
“For decades, early childhood education has been a rare unifying issue both in Washington and among voters across the political spectrum. While there are many important funding needs facing lawmakers, this bill makes it clear that Congress recognizes and elevates child care to the level of attention required to address the tremendous care challenges facing America’s working families.
We are grateful for the outstanding leadership of Senators Leahy, Shelby, Murray, Blunt, and Congresswoman DeLauro in working together to prioritize investment in core early learning programs, helping to make sure that more families will have access to the child care they need. It’s clear that lawmakers understand our nation’s early learning programs have never been more important. This funding is essential in providing much-needed investments, but our work isn’t finished. As families and child care providers continue to navigate child care challenges, we look forward to continuing this bipartisan momentum with the incoming Congress and the White House in the months to come.”
The bipartisan omnibus bill includes increased funding levels for existing federal early learning and care programs: including $8 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), $12 billion for Early Head Start & Head Start, as well as $315 million for the Preschool Development Grants program. See the FY2023 funding levels from the president’s budget request, the House bill, and the Senate bill on our website here. This year, a record number of “Dear Colleague” letters were led by Senators Burr, Casey, Collins, Hirono, Lujan and Smith, and Representatives Bowman, Castro, Clark, Davis, DeSaulnier, Katko, Keller, Morelle, Norcross, Salazar, Strickland, Torres, Underwood, and signed by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in support of increased funding for the various federal early learning and care programs. Learn more about these essential early learning and care programs here.
In total, the FY2023 early learning and care funding levels include:
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program: $8 billion
- A $1.8 billion increase over FY2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start: $12 billion
- A $960 million increase over FY2022
- Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) program: $315 million
- A $25 million increase over FY2022
- IDEA Part B Preschool Grants: $420 million
- An $10.4 million increase over FY2022
- IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Toddlers: $540 million
- A $43.7 million increase over FY2022
Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike have long been in agreement that early childhood education is critical to achieving the outcomes children need to be successful in school and life. Over the years, federal early learning programs have seen steady, significant progress through increased, bipartisan investments from both Congress and the White House.
FFYF has a long history of national advocacy for early learning, and in fall of 2022, joined our partners in calling for significantly more discretionary funding for these programs. Without sustained increases, these programs will only reach a fraction of children and families eligible to participate, which is generally based on income. The investments outlined in the final FY2023 omnibus spending package will ensure that more families can access high-quality care options that meet their needs. This helps set more children on a path to achieve their full potential while also strengthening local economies, supporting working families, and responding to the real-world concerns of our nation’s voters.