Access to quality early learning and care opportunities for children under age five is a crucial investment that many families across the country struggle to afford. The core federal early childhood education programs, such as Head Start and Child Care, are responsible for serving families from low-income backgrounds. Unfortunately, across the country, the need to access these critical programs far outpaces their current capacity. Faced with limited resources, local, state, and federal representatives strive to make the right choices when it comes to investing in America’s youngest learners. Today, the First Five Years Fund proposes four actionable ways to build on these investments.

In a few short weeks Congress will convene its 115th session, and federal tax legislation sits high on the agenda. As Congress considers comprehensive tax reforms, there is a significant opportunity to expand access to early childhood education by enhancing existing tax credits and deductions for families; and by adding new and innovative strategies to encourage investment in high quality programs. These strategies include:

  1. Making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) refundable for children under 5 years old.
  2. Enhancing the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), and allow it to be used for quality education programs for children under the age of five.
  3. Expanding the definition of “qualified institutions” for tax free scholarships.
  4. Increasing limits on the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) and incentivizing employers to contribute more to employee accounts.

For more detailed information on FFYF’s Tax Proposals, check out our one-pager here.

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