The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) today announced the receipt of a $1 million, one-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support a unique multi-organizational advocacy and action strategy designed to increase equitable access to high-quality child care. Working in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Center for American Progress, Child Care Aware of America, and the First Five Years Fund, this effort is designed to bolster current and ongoing efforts to help states across the nation maximize the recent and historic increase in federal child care funding provided by Congress.
The diverse expertise across the five organizations will be brought together in a multi-pronged and comprehensive effort to support states in using the new funds to expand access to high quality care and to drive increased state investments. “This exciting partnership and generous support from the foundation allows us to bring our collective strengths and resources together to engage educators, advocates, families, and policymakers in growing a high-profile demand for increased investment in quality child care,” said Rhian Evans Allvin, NAEYC’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We are looking forward to leveraging and expanding the existing work to help states identify their gaps and think bigger and bolder about solving them, especially around increasing eligibility and helping more children equitably access high-quality programs that meet families’ needs,” added Katie Hamm, vice president of Early Childhood Policy at the Center for American Progress.
A significant portion of the funds and the work of the national organizations will be directed towards state Affiliates within NAEYC and Child Care Aware® of America’s networks, in order to support their efforts in coordinating with other state advocates to elevate and advocate for key aspects of implementation of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). “It is a critical time for us to support state and local advocates,” emphasized Dr. Lynette M. Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America, “as they are the most attuned and responsive to the strengths, needs, and priorities in their states.”
“There is so much we can do, on a bipartisan basis, to ensure this important program reaches as many families as possible with high-quality care, so Congress can see what a strong impact their investment is having in states and communities,” added Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. Linda Smith, Director of the Early Childhood Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center, agreed, noting, “We share a goal of bringing Democrats and Republicans at the state level together around child care. There was wide bipartisan support for the increase in Congress and we need that to translate to the same support at the state level, to ensure we are providing a quality educational foundation for all children.”
NAEYC is the foremost professional membership organization committed to transforming the lives of young children and delivering on the promise of high-quality early learning. NAEYC represents tens of thousands of early childhood educators who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children, birth through age 8. Learn more about NAEYC at www.naeyc.org.
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