Funding for Key Early Learning Programs
Each year, Congress determines funding levels for all of the federal defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including those that support the care and education of children from birth through age five. Traditionally, subcommittees within the House and Senate Appropriations Committees develop their own legislation that sets funding levels for the programs within their jurisdiction, which is then taken up by the full appropriations committees, and later the full legislative body, before a negotiation process between the two chambers of Congress and ultimately the president’s signature.
Over the past fifteen years, federal early learning programs have seen steady, significant progress through increased, bipartisan investments from both Congress and the White House.
In March, the White House released details of President Biden’s FY2024 budget request to Congress, which includes increased funding for many federal early learning programs, including an additional $980 million for CCDBG, $1.1 billion for Head Start (with over $500 million dedicated to increasing compensation for Head Start staff), $45 million for the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) program, as well as $600 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years for child care ($400 billion) and preschool ($200 billion), and $500 million for a new preschool incentive demonstration program to expand preschool in community-based settings.
On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies released its proposed funding levels for child care and early learning programs, including level funding for CCDBG, a $750 million cut to Head Start, and the elimination of PDG B-5 and Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS). On July 27, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions released its proposed funding levels, which increases funding for federal early learning programs by $1 billion over FY2023 levels, including an additional $700 million for CCDBG, $275 million for Head Start, and $5 million for Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS). The PDG B-5 program would unfortunately see a $5 million cut. In the midst of this difficult fiscal environment, and after being eliminated in the House, the Senate recognizes how vital it is that the program continue, as states are in the midst of important work with these grant awards.
FFYF commends Congress’ commitment to making child care and early learning a top priority. The chart below includes proposed funding levels for several key early learning programs.