Final Recovery Package Is Good News For Children

Feb 13, 2009

In addition to significant investments in education, workforce development, safety net programs, and other important areas, the final American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes substantial funding to support young children.

The final agreement that came out of conference between the House and Senate includes:

  • $2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant(CCDBG). These are federal funds that do not require a state match. The conference adopted the Senate language which targets $255 million of these funds for quality improvement, of which $93.6 million are targeted for activities to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers. In addition the CCDBG requirement to spend a minimum of 4 percent of funds on quality improvement activities also applies. (See a state-by-state breakdown of the new funds.)
  • $2.1 billion for Head Start, to be split as $1 billion for Head Start and $1.1 billion for Early Head Start
  • $500 million for the IDEA infant and toddler program (Part C)
  • $400 million for the IDEA preschool program (Part B)
  • $13 billion for Title I of No Child Left Behind for disadvantaged students, of which spending on early childhood programs for children from birth through the age of school entry is a permitted use of funds. The Senate language that would have required local educational agencies to spend 15 percent of their funds on early childhood programs was not adopted.

The House and Senate are expected to pass the bill in the next few days. Policymakers and advocates will want to begin work immediately to plan to get these funds out the door quickly in ways that best meet the needs of families who have been hurt by the economic crisis.

For additional details on early childhood funding in the bill, see this table from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAYEC).

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