WASHINGTON – Today, First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling appeared before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) to testify about the importance of robust federal funding for early learning and child care programs in FY2024.
Rittling was chosen by both GOP and Democratic members of the Committee to serve as an expert witness about the long-term positive effects federal investments have on child care and early learning programs for working families, children, and our economy.
From Rittling’s testimony:
“No one on this Committee needs a primer on the essential role that child care plays for families, businesses, and the economy. You know that, for millions of working families with young children, child care has become either unavailable or unaffordable. Child care is hard to find and, even when parents can find it, wait lists are long and costs are high. This has only gotten worse in recent years, as the child care sector is still down approximately 60,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels, leaving families with an even smaller supply of care. And this has an impact on families all across the nation. Congress plays a key role in addressing these realities. Federal programs benefit families in all fifty states and every Congressional district.”
FFYF has a long history of Congressional advocacy for early learning, and last week, joined our partners in calling for significantly more discretionary funding for 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. Without sustained increases, these programs will only reach a fraction of children and families eligible to participate, which is generally based on income.
Written testimony as prepared can be found here.
Video of the event can be found here.