WASHINGTON – Today, the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) and a coalition of 44 major early education advocacy organizations wrote to Congressional appropriators calling for 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.
First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling issued the following statement in conjunction with the letter:
“Millions of parents and children from all 50 states benefit from our nation’s federal early learning and child care programs. Now, Congressional leaders have the opportunity to deliver much needed support to America’s working families by securing robust funding for these programs through FY2024 appropriations. As the appropriations process moves forward, we look forward to working with members from across the aisle to ensure families can find and afford high-quality child care that meets their needs.”
Rittling will be testifying in front of the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on the importance of these programs Thursday, March 23rd, at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The letter reinforces the essential role of the federal early learning and care programs for millions of children and families, and highlights the significant unmet need. From the letter to Chair Aderholt, Ranking Member DeLauro, Chair Baldwin, and Ranking Member Capito:
“We write to encourage your continued support for the core federal early learning and care programs and ask you to build upon recent bipartisan investments to ensure more children and families receive access to the high-quality care they need. To support these needs and the many other needs of the very same families, we urge you to increase the overall FY 2024 allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee to a level that ensures robust and sustained investments. Child care and early learning programs play a crucial role in supporting children’s healthy development, learning, and school readiness, while also supporting parents’ ability to work, train, or pursue an education.”
In recent years, the federal early learning and care programs have seen important bipartisan funding increases. Even so, these programs only reach a fraction of the eligible children and families they are intended to serve, underscoring the need for Congress to provide robust discretionary funding.
Last week, FFYF hosted a bipartisan congressional briefing featuring a panel of experts and leaders in the early learning field, which offered Congressional staff insights about the importance of the federal early learning and care programs – and the need for robust funding to ensure their success.
The full text of the letter, including the list of signers, can be found below: