Understanding Child Care and Early Education Investments in President Biden’s FY2025 Budget

By Shira Small and Stephanie Schmit

4 min read.

Now that the federal fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget is finalized, we’re moving into advocacy for FY2025, which begins on October 1. The first step in the yearly budgeting process is the release of the President’s budget, which is a mechanism for the President to share his priorities and vision for the forthcoming fiscal year. President Biden’s recently released FY2025 budget proposes bold investments in children and families. It prioritizes improved access to child care and recognizes the need for increased funding for families, providers, and the economy. While congressional action is needed to make the president’s proposals a reality, the budget’s investments make President Biden’s recognition of the value of child care clear.  

Given the expiration of the final child care relief investments and the need for resources to implement the new Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) final rule, investments in child care in the FY2025 budget are critically important to ensure that positive progress made at the state level can be maintained and that more children have access to care.  

The president’s budget includes both proposed investments in mandatory spending (longer-term, more sustainable funding) and discretionary spending for FY2025 (year-to-year investments approved through the appropriations process).  

Affordable Child Care for America 

President Biden’s Affordable Child Care for America initiative is the most notable proposed investment in child care and early education. The initiative would invest $600 billion in mandatory child care and universal pre-K over the next 10 years.  

If implemented, the initiative would guarantee affordable care for families earning up to $200,000 a year from birth through kindergarten, capping the daily cost of care at $10 for most families. The budget estimates that this would extend child care access to 16 million children and save families over $600 a month on average per child, helping parents and especially women re-enter the workforce. The increased investment would also go toward raising compensation for child care providers.  

The proposed budget would also fund universal preschool for four-year-olds and help expand preschool enrollment for three-year-olds. Parents would have the option to access preschool using a variety of options such as child care centers, public schools, Head Start, and more. 

FY2025 Discretionary Proposals for Child Care and Early Education Programs 

The following discretionary investments in child care and early education programs are included in the FY2025 budget: 

  • Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): CCDBG would receive $8.5 billion, an increase of $500 million from FY2023 (see note below) and nine percent of the total proposed Administration for Children and Families budget. The increased funding is part of Biden’s Affordable Child Care for America plan, which aims to raise the number of children receiving subsidies.     
  • Head Start: Head Start would receive $12.5 billion, a $544 million increase from FY2023. The increase is intended to support funding for upcoming Head Start Final Rule changes that aim to raise Head Start provider compensation to a level comparable to salaries received by public school teachers. The increase in funding is paired with a legislative proposal to revise American Indian and Alaska Native and Seasonal Head Start eligibility requirements in order to reach more children. 
  • Preschool Development Grant (PDG): The budget includes a decrease of $65 million in the PDG program. This brings the proposed PDG funding down to $250 million compared to $315 million in FY2023. 
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The budget proposes $425 million for IDEA Part B Preschool Grants, which fund special education and related services for children with disabilities ages three through five. This marks a $5 million increase over FY2023 funding levels. It includes $545 million for the IDEA Part C Infants and Families program, which is also a $5 million increase over FY2023 funding.  
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS): CCAMPIS would receive $80 million, which is a $5 million increase to the program. This investment would provide funding for colleges and universities that provide child care for student parents with low incomes.   

President Biden’s budget reflects the administration’s effort to invest in the care economy and extend affordable child care to more children and families. These investments can only be realized if Congress makes a strong commitment to creating a sustainable child care system that works for children, families, and providers. It is long past time that the child care sector receives the funding that recognizes its value to families and the economy and meets children’s needs. 

Due to the timing of President Biden’s budget release, funding proposals were compared to FY2023 investments within the budget documents as FY2024 funding bills had not yet been finalized. We maintained those comparisons in this piece to remain consistent with the numbers and increases outlined in the President’s budget documents. On March 23, Congress passed the FY2024 funding bill, which included significant increases in CCDBG and Head Start. The CCDBG investment in FY2024 therefore exceeds the discretionary amounts in President’s FY2025 proposed budget. We hope Congress will recognize the ongoing need for increased funding for these important programs and deliver on the investments advocated for in our FY2025 community letter.