Earlier today, the White House released the president’s FY2020 budget request to Congress, which includes recommendations regarding the suite of federal programs that support the care and education of America’s children from birth through age five. While analysis continues on the details of the proposal, First Five Years Fund (FFYF) executive director Sarah Rittling released the following statement specific to the elevation of child care:
“Working families across the country are struggling to access affordable, high-quality child care options for their children. Thanks to the bipartisan commitment of leaders in Washington and the strong partnership between the federal government and states, there have been important funding increases and quality improvements to the child care systems in recent years that support the healthy development of millions of American children while their parents work or attend school. In fact, the largest-ever increase to child care funding came as a result of a bipartisan deal made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as part of negotiations to raise domestic spending caps in FY2018. The resulting $2.37 billion funding increase will go a long way toward allowing states to implement important quality improvements to their child care programs, which Congress enacted as part of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. Still, today, there remains a critical lack of affordable, high-quality child care options for working families – especially low-income families. Quality of care must be central to any discussion about expanding access.
“We are grateful for the positive attention the issue of child care has received from Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, particularly at a time when a growing number of proposals are being introduced by policymakers in Congress and at the state and local level. Solutions and investments, both big and small, that are born out of a robust exchange of ideas will make a real difference in the lives of young children and their families. Now is the time for Congress to harness the overwhelming bipartisan support for early childhood education and work across the aisle to develop meaningful solutions that will take America from where we are to where we need to be. From a budgeting perspective, the first step will be to raise the budget caps so that Congress can continue increasing funding levels for crucial federal programs like Child Care, Head Start and Early Head Start, Preschool Development Grants, and more.”
The First Five Years Fund is the leading bipartisan federal advocacy organization working to ensure all children from birth through age five have equal access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality care and education to support their healthy development and help them achieve their full potential in school and life. FFYF seeks to expand federal support for all early learning and care opportunities that are high-quality and focused first on serving those children most-at-risk. http://www.ffyf.org