States Increase Child Care And Early Education Appropriations
Mar 28, 2008
State appropriations for child care and early education programs increased over $1 billion from FY 2007 to 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures first-ever survey of state child care and early education state appropriations. The survey asked state fiscal staff to report state appropriations in the areas of child care, pre-kindergarten, parent education/home visiting, and other early learning strategies. The survey found increases in all four areas:
- Child care appropriations increased by over $672 million ($400 million of which was reported in California) with a total of 47 states reporting increased funding. NCSL notes that the increases in child care appropriations in actuality may not have outpaced the funding challenges that have daunted states for years.
- Pre-kindergarten appropriations increased by nearly $510 million with a total of 30 reporting increased funding.
- Parent education appropriations increased by over $20 million with a total of 17 states reporting increased funding.
- Appropriations for other early learning, including Head Start/Early Head Start, infant and toddler initiatives, and early childhood mental health programs, increased by $26 million with a total of 19 states reporting increased funding.
Eight states Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington reported increased funding in all four areas.
While state pre-kindergarten programs have been increasingly popular in recent years, growing in popularity, size and funding, this survey shows that states are funding a wide range of early education programs vital for young children from birth to school entry and their families. In particular, increasing state appropriations for child care is ever important with stagnant federal funding in recent years. CLASP's analysis shows that state child care spending (including federal and state funds) decreased in 2004 and in 2005, the most recent years data are available. States can't do it alone; and federal funding should also demonstrate a recognition of the vital importance of early childhood programs that help families work and help children prepare for school and life.