STATEMENT: First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling on Proposed FY24 Funding Levels for Child Care and Early Learning Programs
“Federal funding provides the foundation for child care and early learning programs. Now is the time to bring greater support for working families and children, not reverse course. We urge Congress to protect and prioritize programs throughout the appropriations process so families across the country are able to thrive,” says Rittling.
WASHINGTON – This morning, the House Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing on proposed funding levels for child care programs for FY2024. Their plan would maintain current funding levels for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the program that provides the foundation to child care programs in all 50 states. At the same time, it significantly cuts and even eliminates other vital programs that help working families access child care.
In response, First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling released the following statement:
“Millions of working parents and children across our country need child care to go to work and provide for their families. These programs also help kids get the care and early learning they deserve, setting them on a strong path for their futures.
“Federal funding provides the foundation for these programs. It is essential that Congress protects and prioritizes these programs so families and children are able to benefit from quality child care and early learning.
“We are grateful that, in light of the realities Congress is facing in this year’s tough fiscal environment, the Committee continued to prioritize and protect funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (or CCDBG). CCDBG funding is the foundation upon which early learning and care systems are built in all 50 states. Maintaining this funding will allow states to continue to help families find and afford child care and ensure their children have access to the safe, quality early learning and care that will set them up for success.
“At the same time, it is deeply disappointing to see the elimination of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program, which has been successful in helping states build the infrastructure they need to ensure stronger quality, safety, and efficiency between different child care and early learning programs. The Committee’s proposed cuts to Early Head Start and Head Start will further devastate thousands of families with the most need, making it much more difficult to find comprehensive early learning, health, nutrition, and family support services.
“The past few years have shown us what investing in child care and early learning can accomplish; now is the time to build on that momentum with greater support for working families, not reverse course.
“As always, there is a long road ahead as Congress works through this entire appropriations process. We look forward to working with both the House and Senate in the coming weeks on ways to prioritize and build on funding for these programs which provide the bedrock to early learning and child care.”