The Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program is a $315 million competitive federal grant designed to improve states’ early childhood systems by building upon existing federal, state and local early care and learning investments. PDG B-5 was established in 2015 through the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The grants encourage states to focus on five major activities: aligning existing programs, maximizing parental choice, building on the success of existing programs, fostering partnerships among stakeholders and leveraging data for continued improvement. This funding offers unique opportunities for states to consider the full range of programs, services and funding streams that support children from birth through age 5 and their families and empowers states to improve their systems. 

In December 2018, 46 states received initial one-year grants to conduct a state-level needs assessment and create a strategic plan that optimizes existing early childhood education (ECE) resources. Due to overwhelming interest from states, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) negotiated with 39 of the 46 grantees to reduce their scope of work and take reduced funding to provide more states with grant opportunities.

In December 2019, after an incredibly competitive review process, ACF awarded 20 renewal grants out of the 46 initial grant recipients. Additionally, six new states and territories were awarded initial planning grants.

Recognizing the potential impact and the tremendous interest from states and territories, Congress appropriated an additional $25 million in funding for PDG B-5 as a part of the FY2020 budget. With this new funding, ACF was able to extend three additional renewal grants in the spring of 2020. In December 2020, five of the six states and territories that received an initial grant in 2019 were awarded a renewal grant, bringing the total number of implementation grants to 28.

Blog Series: How States are Using PDG B-5 Grants

The BUILD Initiative, ZERO TO THREE, and Start Early, recently released a new set of briefs highlighting the strategies states are using to improve child care in their Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) Renewal applications.

Click here to learn more about the various strategies states are pursuing in their PDG Renewal grants. FFYF will continue to add new blogs as the briefs become available.

While ESSA established the PDG B-5 in statute, funding for the program is contingent on the annual Congressional appropriations process. As states and territories launch and sustain their implementation efforts, continued Congressional support is imperative and will allow states to implement their plans with fidelity.

Current Funding Level: PDG is funded at $315 million for FY2023, an increase of $25 million above FY2022. A summary of funding amounts for both the initial and renewal grants is available here

Click here for an overview of FY2023 funding levels for other early childhood education and care programs.

Note: Prior to ESSA, Congress appropriated funding for a different Preschool Development Grants program, now referred to as the Legacy PDG, and the U.S. Department of Education made grants to states in 2015 and 2016. These grants provided much-needed funding for state development and expansion of access to high-quality pre-k for 4-year-olds from low-income backgrounds. While the Legacy PDG helped grantees expand early learning, PDG B-5 is distinct from Legacy PDG across purpose, eligibility, duration, matching requirements, use of funds, and reporting requirements.