WASHINGTON – Today, Congress passed a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government funded until December 16, 2022, including a temporary extension of critical funding for the core federal early learning and care programs. Notably, the bill included a temporary extension of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which is not funded through the federal appropriations process and was set to expire today, September 30, 2022.
Under this short-term CR, funding levels for early childhood education programs like Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program will continue operating under current FY2022 appropriations levels.
First Five Years Executive Director Sarah Rittling released the following statement:
“Thanks to the bipartisan work of lawmakers to pass today’s continuing resolution, key federal early learning and care programs will continue to be funded, and thousands of community-based home visiting programs can continue to provide families with the services they need to help their kids thrive.
“However, today’s extension is a temporary solution to a nation-wide crisis as lawmakers look to negotiate funding for the next fiscal year. Most parents – regardless of whether they’re eligible for these critical programs – can’t afford the high cost of care and more than half of Americans live in an area without any quality care options at all. Ultimately, if we’re going to address the child care crisis in America, Congress must invest in a strong early learning sector – both through increased annual appropriations funding and significant, long-term legislative solutions.”
Congress can now continue negotiations to work out a larger agreement over how to fund these programs for FY2023. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long been in agreement that early childhood education is critical to achieving the outcomes children need to be successful in school and life. Over the years, the targeted federal early learning programs have seen steady, significant progress through increased, bipartisan investments from both Congress and the White House.
While proposed FY2023 funding increases for these crucial programs are necessary, they are less than what was included in President Biden’s FY2022 budget request to Congress and the levels passed by the House last year. In spring of 2022, FFYF was joined by our national advocacy partners in calling for significantly more discretionary funding for these programs. Without significant funding boosts, these programs will continue to only reach a fraction of children and families eligible to participate. Meanwhile, families at every income level struggle to access high-quality care options that meet their needs, due to high cost or limited supply.