WASHINGTON — This week, the House of Representatives passed a FY2022 funding package, which includes important funding increases for core federal early learning programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program, Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5), Head Start & Early Head Start, and other critical programs.
“Across the country, millions of young children and their families rely on child care and early learning programs that are made possible by the core federal funding appropriated by Congress each year. The important funding increases included in this appropriations package would ensure more children from low-income families are able to benefit from the high-quality developmental opportunities that are proven to set them up for success in school and life,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “For years, early learning has proved to be a rare, unifying issue in Washington, with Democratic and Republican lawmakers coming together to support additional funding for these essential programs and find innovative solutions to the challenges facing working families. We are grateful for the Congressional leaders who continue to prioritize these important investments and programs.”
The FY2022 Early Learning and Care Funding Levels Passed by the House:
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
- $7.377 billion, an increase of $1.466 billion over FY2021
- Head Start and Early Head Start
- $12.2 billion, an increase of $1.434 billion over FY2021
- Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5)
- $450 million, an increase of $175 million over FY2021
- IDEA Part B Preschool Grants
- $502.6 million, an increase of $105 million over FY2021
- IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families
- $731.9 million, an increase of $250 million over FY2021
- Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS)
- $95 million, an increase of $40 million over FY2021
In an effort to secure additional funding for early learning and care programs, FFYF led a letter with other national early care and education and advocacy organizations calling on Congress to increase funding for FY2022. Additionally, five separate “Dear Colleague” letters were circulated by lawmakers to generate support for federal early learning and care with more than 1 in 5 House Republicans joining in support of robust funding for these essential programs.
As the Senate continues it’s work on the FY22 appropriations bills, it is clear there continues to be strong support for federal early childhood education programs among Senators. A letter sent earlier this month from 30 Senators to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) called for additional funding for early learning and care programs that “provide at-risk children with the early learning experiences that they need to succeed in school, work, and life and support low-income parents in their efforts to provide for their families.”
Currently, the federal early learning and care programs reach a fraction of children and families who need it, with only one in seven children eligible for child care subsidies actually receiving one. Additionally, Head Start grantees combine federal funding with state and local funding, but together these funds reach only 36% of children eligible for Head Start and 11% of children eligible for Early Head Start.
In March, FFYF hosted a congressional briefing featuring a panel of experts and leaders in the early learning field, which offered members of Congress and their staff insights about the importance of the federal early learning and care programs – and the need for robust funding to ensure their success.
Earlier this year, the White House released President Joe Biden’s FY2022 budget request to Congress, which included more than $3 billion in funding increases for federal early learning and care programs. The budget request followed the proposed child care infrastructure investments made in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and the funding to expand access to child care and pre-k programs in the American Families Plan.
Support for early childhood education remains overwhelmingly bipartisan among voters. According to recent FFYF polling, three in four voters want to see child care and early learning made a priority this year, with a solid majority of Republican voters saying their member of Congress should work with Joe Biden on the issues. Additionally, 78% of Republican voters and 93% of Democratic voters support making child care more affordable by providing financial support to help working families pay some or all of the cost of quality care. What’s more, 73% of Republican voters and 95% of Democratic voters support making preschool more available by providing it to all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want to send them, with no additional cost to parents. Read more of the 2021 National Policy Poll findings here.