The White House released President Joe Biden’s full FY2022 budget proposal, which includes important funding increases for the federal early learning and care programs and provides further details on the administration’s plans to reform and invest in a stronger child care and early learning system through the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan.
“Far too often, the high cost or limited supply of child care creates an insurmountable hurdle for parents who simply want to work hard and provide for their families. As we seek to address America’s child care crisis, it is essential that we build a strong early learning system centered around ensuring families can find and afford high-quality options that meet their needs – President Biden’s proposal does exactly that,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. Confronting the significant challenges facing working families will require equally significant investment. We are incredibly grateful to the administration and bipartisan leaders on Capitol Hill who are committed to finding solutions that benefit children, parents, and the economy, so that child care challenges never prevent a family from pursuing their American Dream.”
The American Jobs Plan would invest $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and would also expand a tax credit for businesses to build child care at places of work. The American Families Plan proposes a $225 billion investment to address the child care needs of families and providers, $220 billion to expand voluntary preschool access to all 3- and 4-year-olds, and a permanent extension of recent improvements from the American Rescue Plan to various tax credits, including to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), among other provisions to help working parents and young children.
The President’s FY2022 budget request also seeks significant funding increases to core federal early learning and care programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, Head Start and Early Head Start, and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program. See FFYF’s analysis of the funding increases here.
FFYF and other national early care and education advocacy organizations sent a letter calling on Congress to provide increased funding for federal early learning and care programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, Head Start and Early Head Start, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program. Additionally, 5 separate “Dear Colleague” letters were circulated and signed by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill in support of funding for the federal early learning and care programs.
The $225 billion investment in child care proposed in this request to Congress largely follows provisions in the Child Care for Working Families Act, which was introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Bobby Scott earlier this year. The bill would ensure that no low- or middle-income family spends more than 7% of their income on child care, addresses longstanding challenges for early childhood educators, including low wages, and would invest in increasing the supply of quality child care in communities, while making other important quality improvements to existing programs.
Earlier this year, FFYF released its Blueprint for Progress, offering Congress and the Biden administration insight into opportunities, big and small, to support early learning and care programs for children from birth through age five. The sweeping resource provides a true blueprint for lawmakers with policy proposals to address access, affordability, and quality in child care and early learning, outlining wide-ranging solutions that fit squarely into the various legislative vehicles Congress might pursue, from infrastructure, to tax reform, to annual funding bills, to budget reconciliation, and more. The Blueprint is online at FFYF.org/Blueprint.
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