Today, the U.S. Senate passed an omnibus government spending bill, which includes a huge funding increase for some of the nation’s vital early learning and care programs. The bill was then signed into law by the president, officially funding the government through the end of September 2018.

Overwhelming bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for early childhood education made greater funding levels possible, and we are grateful to the countless bipartisan champions in Congress who have continued to prioritize America’s young children.


Here are the new funding levels for early childhood programs:

Early Childhood Education in the FY2018 Omnibus Bill


FY2018 Level

Change from FY2017

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

$5.226 billion

+$2.37 billion above FY2017

Early Head Start / Head Start

$9.863 billion


Includes $755 million for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

+$610 million above FY2017

+115 million for EHS expansion and the partnerships

Preschool Development Grants


$250 million

Level with FY2017

Child Care Means Parents in School

$50 million

+$34.87 million above FY2017

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

$5 million

+$5 million – first-ever federal investment towards this particular grant opportunity

IDEA Part B Preschool Grants

$381.12 million

+$12.88 million above FY2017

IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families

$470 million

+$11.44 million above FY2017


Within the omnibus bill is a bipartisan provision to increase funding for the Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) program to $5.226 billion – the single largest increase to CCDBG in the program’s history. This represents an increase of $2.37 billion over FY2017 levels and effectively doubles the program’s discretionary funding. The crucial funding increase will allow states to implement important quality improvements to child care programs that will better support children’s development and education. This increase is the result of a bipartisan budget agreement reached by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on February 9, 2018, who negotiated the funding boost for child care.

The bipartisan omnibus bill passed today also includes significant funding levels for Early Head Start & Head Start, as well as the Preschool Development Grants program, setting funding for these programs at $9.86 billion and $250 million respectively. This funding for Head Start and Early Head Start represents an increase of $610 million over FY2017, and including an expansion of Early Head Start and the Early Head Start—Child Care Partnerships.

CCDBG, which currently enables states to serve approximately 1.4 million children, was last authorized in 2014 with overwhelming bipartisan support and included provisions to improve health and safety quality standards. Today’s funding increase will ensures states are equipped with the resources needed to continue implementing these quality standards, which will promote learning and healthy development.

Quality early childhood education is critical to achieving the outcomes children need to be successful in school and life – particularly for those from families in poverty. Unfortunately, less than half of low-income children have access to high-quality early childhood programs that could dramatically improve their opportunity to live productive lives. Research shows both short- and long-term beneficial outcomes in children who attend high-quality programs, including lasting gains in both IQ and socio-emotional skills. These gains prepare individuals to earn higher wages as adults, live healthier lives, avoid incarceration, raise stronger families, and contribute to society. Quality matters, and low-quality care can be detrimental to children, families, and society.

Now, as Congress continues negotiating funding levels for FY2019, FFYF calls on lawmakers to maintain the bipartisan momentum it has built in supporting quality early childhood education.