Charles Joughin | | 202-730-0249

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Identifies Early Childhood Education as a Policy Priority  

WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies yesterday approved a $153.2 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, including bipartisan measures to increase or sustain funding for core early childhood programs. Yesterday, the subcommittee took its first step in a long process that comes just days after the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its proposal.

“We’re pleased to see this sign of continued bipartisan support for early childhood education,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Kris Perry. “Funding increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Head Start are positive steps to ensuring that our nation’s most at-risk families are supported through affordable, high-quality early childhood programs. But, we have a lot more work to do, including restoration of the Preschool Development Grants program. As the appropriations process moves forward, we are hopeful additional resources are added to this bill and ultimately to the programs that support America’s greatest resource – our children.”

This year, Congress has chosen to invest in early learning even with constrained resources. Policymakers from both sides of the aisle have shown understanding that investment in these programs reap benefits through improved education, health and social outcomes and decreased social spending.

Still, yesterday’s markup failed to include funding for the Preschool Development Grants program that has helped develop strong federal-state partnerships in early childhood education, enabling states to further expand access to high-quality programs. Just yesterday, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) held a bipartisan Capitol Hill briefing in which representatives from state leadership, law enforcement and the business sector discussed the positive impact the Preschool Development Grants program has had on our youngest learners.

We look forward to working with policymakers to restore funding for this important program and support greater investment in similar efforts that help prepare children for school, grow the economy and strengthen America.

The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy – persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.