Advances in Advocacy and Ongoing Needs

Hello Members and Fellow Advocates,

It is hard to believe that a third of 2023 is already behind us! I know that many of you have been busy with your state advocacy efforts considering most state legislative bodies are still in session. Of late, we are seeing more encouraging headlines alluding that legislators are finally taking notice of the impact child care has on the workforce and the needs of their constituents. This shift in the wind is due in large part to the efforts of those who have been raising their voices and demanding change. They are recognizing that child care providers are stretched thin and struggling, trying their best to provide affordable and accessible, high quality early care and education.  

Below are just a few of the headlines we have seen in March indicating a few states are working to address the child care crisis.

Programs designed to add more child care workers are making their way up to Northern Michigan.

A bill that would ultimately take $54M worth of annual sports gambling taxes and spend it on child care scholarships, passes a Senate committee despite the objection of two Republican lawmakers who believe funding child care is beyond the scope of government.

The state of Indiana has made $10M in funding for child care and early education providers to expand access to early education for Hoosier families through the Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

The Washington State Senate passed a bill that would increase access to affordable child care and strengthen the child care workforce.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers filed several new bills in March to address the shortage of child care options in North Carolina. One of the bills introduced would put more than $200M toward subsidies for child care workers. Another bill would fund $300M in additional grants to child care centers.

Headlines like these are key indicators that our message is being heard. In order to keep things moving in the right direction, we must continue to raise our voices to ensure a thriving early care and education infrastructure!

At the federal level, child care is still a priority for the current administration. On March 9th, the White House released President Biden’s FY24 budget request to Congress.  The budget builds upon the enacted federal appropriations of recent years with steady increases for early childhood education programs. Specifically for FY24, there is a proposed increase of $980M for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)—totaling $9B. Proposed funding for Head Start is increased by $1.1B for a total of $13.2B, with $575M dedicated to increasing compensation for Head Start teachers and staff. Proposed funding for the Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) is increased by $45M for a total of $360M.  

Additionally, President Biden’s budget notes a proposal for a $600B mandatory investment in child care, universal preschool, and wage increases for Head Start teachers. The child care proposal includes $400B over several years for states to subsidize high quality child care for children ages birth through five for families earning up to $200,000. The White House estimates this funding would increase child care options for 16 million more children while lowering costs for families. The preschool proposal would fund a federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, universal preschool, in a mixed delivery for states to expand access to 3-year-olds.  

Similarly to what we experienced with Build Back Better, it will be up to Congress to determine what, if anything will come of these proposals. As always, we will keep you up to date and provide resources and opportunities for you to take action; you are essential in helping to determine the future of the child care industry. 

Stay tuned and stay involved. 

Happy Spring!