This week, FFYF and other national early care and education advocacy organizations sent a letter calling on Congress to provide increased funding for 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.
While the long-awaited relief provided in the American Rescue Plan Act will help to sustain the child care sector in the short-term, it does not diminish the need for increased appropriations for federal early learning and care programs, which allow programs to continue to serve low-income children and families and meet their statutory and regulatory requirements. Increased funding will be critical to ensure we build on these recent relief investments and continue on the road to economic recovery. Additionally, increased appropriations will provide greater stability to states, allowing them to focus supplemental funding on the immediate needs of the child care sector as a whole, without depleting funds intended for ongoing program operation and improvement or compromising quality.
For FY2022, the letter asks that Congress provide:
- An additional $6.1 billion for CCDBG (a total of $12 billion), which will expand the base CCDBG budget to avoid damaging cliffs and support states in making targeted investments to their child care systems aligned with longer-term recovery needs;
- An additional $1.34 billion for Head Start (a total of $12.1 billion), including expansion of Early Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. Specifically, $247 million for a basic cost-of-living adjustment, $363 million in quality improvement funding (QIF) purposed to address childhood trauma, and $730 million to provide additional hours of service to align Head Start program schedules with a traditional K-12 model and meet the needs of working parents.
- An additional $240.4 million for early intervention services provided under IDEA Part C (bringing total funding to $722.2 million) and $139.7 million for preschool special education services under Part B Section 619 (bringing total funding to $537.3 million);
- An additional $225 million for PDG B-5 (a total of $500 million), to support states and territories who received implementation grants to carry out their plans with fidelity, particularly as they recover from the pandemic, and to provide additional implementation grants to states who applied for but did not receive one to carry out vitally important unfunded projects.
The full text of the letter, including the list of signers, appears below.
Recently, FFYF hosted a 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. Additionally, drafts of FY2022 “Dear Colleague” letters can be found here.