Early Education Fares Well in the 2011 Federal Budget

The original House version of the Federal 2011 budget would have cut $1 billion, or 15%, of the national Head Start budget, and would have cut the child care budget by $39 million. Fortunately, early care and education got a significant victory in the final compromise package worked out by the House, Senate and President Obama.

In this final budget version, Head Start got an increase of $340 million more than the 2010 budget, enough to maintain the children currently enrolled, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant got a $100 million increase! For Wisconsin, The 2011 budget package will provide an estimated $4.3 million for Head Start, and $1.3 million for child care– more than the 2010 budget level.

In tough financial times, it is crucial to invest in programs that bring back positive social and economic returns to society, saving money in the long-term. Investments in early education programs will do just that (see a recent analysis by Child Trends, an independent, nonpartisan research center) and we are happy that the federal governments has recognized this during the current budget process. We are hopeful that investments in early education programs will continue, despite difficult decisions that will need to be made for future federal budgets.

Today is the Day to Call-in for Kids!

Watch the video above and follow the instructions in our previous blog post to call your legislators! Help us ensure that federal funding for early education does not get cut.

Early Education is Prioritized in Federal Spending

2011 Early Education Spending Increases Suggested
On July 15th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved a fiscal 2011 spending bill that would increase federal early education spending. The spending bill includes:

• An increase of $700 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (total appropriation of approximately $2.827 billion). This suggested increase is the largest increase since 2000 and will help states maintain some investments made with ARRA funds. States use CCDBG dollars to improve access, affordability, and quality within child care.

• An increase of $866 million for Head Start funding (a total appropriation of $8.1 billion). This increase will help ensure that crucial Head Start classrooms added with ARRA funding remain open.

• An increase of $5.5 billion in discretionary funding for Pell Grants (total of $23.162 billion). This funding will ensure that more early childhood professionals- as well as other individuals- will be able to afford to attend college.

Next, this plan will travel to the full Appropriations Committee and the full House of Representatives to be considered.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Improvements
On June 15th, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act (H.R. 5504) with a bipartisan vote of 32-13. The bill strengthens CACFP programs by providing funding for five state pilot programs to provide an additional meal or snack, reducing paperwork and simplifying program requirements, increasing support for CACFP sponsors as they enroll child care providers, and enhancing the nutritional quality of food served in early childhood settings.