This morning, Congressmen DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Davis (R-IL) announced the introduction of legislation to increase funding for two programs within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) specifically designed to serve young children with disabilities: IDEA Part C, which authorizes federal funding for early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities ages birth to three years; and IDEA Part B, Section 619, which authorizes supplementary grants to states for preschool programs serving children with disabilities ages three through five.
The Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act would increase appropriations between FY2020 and FY2024 to levels not seen in the last twenty years. In that time, the number of students requiring services has increased at a rate faster than the funding the programs are receiving. Funding for Part C reached a high point in 1999 with funding at $1,768 per child, which, adjusted for inflation, decreased to just $645 per child in 2017. Similarly, funding for Section 619 was at a high in 1992, $1,484 per child, which, adjusted for inflation, has decreased to $529 per child in 2017.
“It is essential that we expand opportunities for children with disabilities that support their early education and development,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) executive director Sarah Rittling. “We know that ensuring young children have access to inclusive early interventions during this critical period of development provides them with the supports they need to be equipped for success in school – supports they might otherwise not receive – and reduces the need for more costly interventions later on. We are incredibly grateful to Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier and Rodney Davis for their bipartisan work to increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act on behalf of America’s youngest learners.”
For more information on IDEA Early Intervention and Preschool Programs, check out our print resource here.