The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) and a coalition of national early education advocacy organizations have written to Congressional appropriators with a request for increased funding for the existing federal early learning and care programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, Head Start and Early Head Start, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program.
The letter reinforces the essential role of the federal early learning and care programs for millions of children and families, and highlights the significant unmet need. From the letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Rep. Tom Cole, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee respectively, and Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Roy Blunt, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee::
“High-quality child care and early learning programs play a crucial role in supporting children’s healthy development, learning, and school readiness, while also supporting parents’ ability to work, train, or pursue an education. Given the value of these opportunities, we greatly appreciate the bipartisan support for increases in funding for federal early learning programs in recent years and the ways in which this funding has helped to extend the reach of state and federal programs to serve more families and improve the overall quality of care. Still, too many families struggle to find and afford high-quality care that meets their needs, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges.”
In recent years, the federal early learning and care programs have seen important bipartisan funding increases. Even so, these programs only reach a fraction of the eligible children and families they are intended to serve, underscoring the need for Congress to provide discretionary funding increases.
Last week, FFYF co-hosted a bipartisan congressional briefing featuring a panel of experts and leaders in the early learning field, which offered members of Congress and their staff insights about the importance of the federal early learning and care programs – and the need for robust funding to ensure their success. You can find more information about current funding levels and the need for increased appropriations for federal early learning and care programs on our website.
The full text of the letter, including the list of signers, appears below.