Congress Proposes Increased Funding for Essential Child Care and Early Education Programs

By Hannah Matthews

Early this morning, the U.S. House and Senate released an omnibus funding bill for FY 2016 (the fiscal year that began on October 1). Thanks to the budget agreement made earlier this fall, an increase in the overall discretionary budget authority allowed Congress to allocate funds for much-needed investments. Specifically the bill includes the following funding for child care and early education:

  • A $326 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This is the largest increase in annual funding for CCDBG since 2001 and will provide critical funds for states as they move forward on implementation of the CCDBG reauthorization. The bill includes a $127 million set aside for improving the quality of infant-toddler care.
  • A $570 million increase for Head Start, which includes $141 million for a cost of living adjustment for grantees, a $135 million increase for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, and $294 million for supplemental funds to grantees to support increased costs of expanding program operating hours, as well as training and technical assistance on expanding hours. This dedicates some funds for the Administration’s recent proposal in the Head Start draft program standards rewrite to require programs to provide full-school-day and full-school-year services. CLASP recommended that implementation of this proposal include sufficient dedicated resources to avoid reduction in the number of children receiving Head Start services.
  • A $15 million increase for Part B preschool grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and a $20 million increase for IDEA Part C grants for infants and their families.
  • Flat funding for the current preschool development grants programs, which allows for a third year of funding for grantees.

The omnibus bill is expected to pass in the House and Senate in the coming days and to be signed by the President. Stay tuned for further CLASP analysis of tax-related and other provisions of the omnibus spending bill.