157 House Members join call for $12 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and increased funds for Early Childhood Programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
171 House Members also joined Clark’s bipartisan request for $12.1 billion to Head Start and Early Head Start funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) led two letters calling for dramatic funding increases to early education and Head Start programs in the upcoming fiscal year. In a letter co-led by Congressmembers Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), and Norma Torres (CA-35), Clark urged House Appropriators to support $12 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for FY 2022 and increased funds for the two critical early childhood programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She also led a bipartisan letter with Congressmembers Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Joe Morelle (NY-25) requesting $12.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, which offer high-quality education, health, and nutrition services to children from at-risk backgrounds and employment and educational support to their parents.
“Families who were already struggling to make ends meet were hardest hit by the pandemic and its economic fallout. As we aim to rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy, we have to dramatically increase our support for child care, early education, nutrition services, and employment opportunities,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “By investing in children and working parents, we are not just supporting their financial needs, but also empowering their social and emotional successes.”
Child Care and Development Block Grant Funding: The CCDBG provides federal funding to states for child care subsidies for low-income families with children under age 13. Despite growth since FY18, significant gaps in the CCDBG have only been widened by the coronavirus pandemic as families continue to struggle to afford child care and educators operate on razor thin margins. Over a million children are provided a child care subsidy through CCDBG, but it is available to only a fraction of eligible families. Doubling the amount of funding available through CCDBG would ensure that twice the number of families would be provided child care subsidies. Meeting the requested funding level would serve an additional one million children, increase payments and wages for providers as well as improve accessibility, and allow women to fully participate in the workforce.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Together, Part C Early Intervention and Part B 619 Preschool Special Education programs in IDEA deliver comprehensive services for children with disabilities from birth through 5 years of age and their families. These programs serve over 1.16 million children per year, about double the number served in 1991, and benefit all states, but investments in these programs have failed to match increases in the number of children served as well as the cost of inflation. In their letter, the Members urged the Committee to provide at least $722.2 million in FY 2022 funding for IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Toddlers and at least $537.3 million in FY 2022 funding for Preschool Grants under Part B Section 619 of the IDEA.
Head Start and Early Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer education, health, and nutrition services to children from at-risk backgrounds—those living in poverty, in foster care, or experiencing homelessness—as well as employment and educational support to their parents. Throughout the pandemic, dedicated Head Start staff have fought to maintain quality programming, support in-home and in-person early education, modify classrooms and procedures to create safe learning environments, and provide rigorous sanitation and screening to protect children, workers, and families during the pandemic. In their letter, the Members requested a $247 million basic cost-of-living-adjustment to help programs keep pace and maintain their workforce, $363 million in quality improvement funding (QIF) to train staff on the principles of trauma-informed care and additional mental health consultation hours, and $730 million to extend Head Start service hours.
Clark’s CCDBG and IDEA letter was signed by 157 Members of the House. The full text of the letter is available HERE.
Clark’s Head Start and Early Head Start letter was signed by 171 Members of the House. The full text of the letter is available HERE.
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