Children are America’s greatest resource, yet less than half of low-income children have access to high-quality early childhood programs that could dramatically improve their opportunities for a better future. A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) explores how our lawmakers can help support our nation’s youngest learners and working families

The BPC’s Early Childhood Initiative, led by former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), and former Representative George Miller (D-CA) takes years of experience in government and provides key recommendations for supporting families, making child care affordable, and prioritizing early care workforce quality.

“Parents face difficult trade-offs these days. Many families are not able to make the choices they believe will ensure the best outcomes for their children,” said Santorum. “I am increasingly concerned about the long-term impact of American kids not getting a good start in life. Families have changed and our federal policies need to change to better help families be healthy and strong.”

“We came together to promote policies that can help provide families with choices—from affording child care to benefiting from effective home visiting programs, to ensuring that the early childhood workforce has the support and training needed to provide high-quality care,” said Miller. “Our nation’s children are our most important asset, and our long-term security and prosperity depend on their success from an early age.”

Key recommendations include:

  • Reauthorize the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program for five years at current funding levels at minimum;
  • Develop and adopt a new, national policy on paid leave;
  • Increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant for children ages 0 to 5 and require states to provide these expanded resources at a 75 percent reimbursement rate;
  • Increase the value of and access to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit;
  • Align and integrate funding and services to better address treatment and recovery needs of parents and their infants and young children.
  • An expanded Child Tax Credit of $2,500 per eligible child through age five and begin phasing in the credit at the first dollar earned;

At a time when divisive rhetoric, calls for resistance, and partisan distrust dominate the political headlines across the country, public support for investing in quality early childhood education from birth through age five has emerged as a unifying issue among American voters of every political persuasion. FFYF’s 2017 national bipartisan poll found that every single proposal tested—including expanding the federal partnership with states and communities through grants to improve access to preschool, tripling the current child care tax credit, and even providing greater funding for programs like Head Start—received overwhelming voter support regardless of partisan affiliation.

The report released by BPC today recognizes the dynamic challenges American families face today and provides effective bipartisan solutions for the lawmakers to invest and support our nation’s greatest resource – our children.

Read the full report and summary of recommendations here.