Washington, D.C. – In response to President Obama signing the recently passed Continuing Resolution, Kris Perry, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), released the following statement:
“High-quality early learning and care programs are proven to make a difference in the lives of our nation’s children and working families. By supporting our youngest learners with these programs, policymakers are making a critical decision to help the next generation succeed; however, we have a lot more work to do. FFYF applauds Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who continue to support early childhood investments, and we look forward to working with the incoming Congress and administration to help ensure all children have the opportunity to learn and thrive.”
The proven benefits of high-quality early childhood programs endure throughout a child’s lifetime; program effectiveness is evident in healthy brain development, kindergarten readiness, improved long-term school gains, and better life outcomes. Investing in high-quality programs that serve our youngest children also has significant societal payoffs. Research from Dr. James Heckman and colleagues shows the rate of return on the public investment in high-quality programs supporting children from birth through age five is 13 percent per year.
The Continuing Resolution extends federal funding – which includes support for the core early learning programs – through April 28, 2017. This ensures critical programs that support young children from low-income backgrounds will continue to carry out services before Congress passes a federal spending bill for the remainder of FY2017. Come April 28, 2017, FFYF urges Congress to build upon the House and Senate spending bills passed by the Appropriations Committees earlier this summer, in which Members voted to prioritize early learning spending in the face of limited resources. House and Senate proposals would have addressed funding needs for the Child Care Development Block Grant, Early Head Start, and Head Start. Both proposals also included $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, which were recently authorized in the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act and present an opportunity to leverage the work states have done to invest in an early learning system that promotes parent choice.
FFYF recently released a policy framework to kick-start a solution-oriented conversation between the new administration and Congress about strengthening existing early childhood programs while establishing a well-financed continuum of high-quality education and care from birth through age five. FFYF’s policy framework provides solutions that address the high cost associated with improving access to high-quality programs. Using the policy framework’s recommendations as a basis for action, FFYF looks forward to continuing to work with policymakers to ensure all children receive a high-quality early learning experience.
About the First Five Years Fund: The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all. http://www.ffyf.org