Omnibus spending bill increases funding for Child Care and Development Block Grant, Early Head Start, and Head Start

WASHINGTON – Today the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, which includes nearly $1 billion in new money for early childhood education.  Funding for the major federal programs that support critical early learning opportunities for young children from low-income families, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Early Head Start and Head Start, have been significantly increased from last fiscal year. Congress also continued funding for Preschool Development Grants, which support states who are leading the way in early childhood education.

“The passage of this spending bill solidifies that early childhood education is a top priority for this Congress,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Kris Perry.  “Investing in our nation’s youngest children isn’t a Republican or Democratic value; it’s a truly American value.  And with nearly $1 billion in new dollars being devoted to programs like Child Care & Development Block Grants and Head Start, Congress is greatly expanding opportunities for children who need it most.”

Funding for CCDBG has been increased by $326 million from FY15 and Head Start by $570 million from FY15.  More Head Start grantees will now have the funding capacity to provide full-day, full-year services if they choose and expand other important opportunities to children and their families. What’s more, within the increased investment in Head Start are federal dollars specifically allocated for Early Head Start, demonstrating federal commitment to supporting early learning from the start, as well as funding for the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnerships which are proving to be successful in elevating the quality of programs across the country.

Preschool Development Grants received another year of funding at $250 million, which supports state efforts to build and expand their preschool programs. The Preschool Development Grant program has been incredibly popular in the states, and was officially authorized as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last week. Preschool Development Grants will provide invaluable support to states, communities, and programs working to prepare low-income children for kindergarten and their later development and learning.

This Congress has consistently supported quality early childhood education and development, with momentum continuing to grow steadily. Aside from the funding included in today’s spending bill and the historic support for early learning in ESSA, Congress also extended funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program through fiscal year 2017, providing $800 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

About the First Five Year Fund: The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health, and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.