Comprehensive child care and early learning policy is a “win for all” policy: a pathway to progress on gender, racial, and income equality; healthy child development and family well-being; improved educational outcomes; and economic growth and prosperity. The President’s Build Back Better plan, reflected in the Congressional budget, is essential to building a strong child care and early learning system that can achieve these goals.
The pandemic laid bare and exacerbated the deep inequities of a child care system that relies on families paying unaffordable sums, early educators being paid poverty-level wages, and too many communities across the country lacking sufficient workforce or facilities to meet child care demands. It is time to put a stake in the ground and build a comprehensive child care and early education system that works for our nation’s children, families, educators, and economy.
All in all, a 10-year federal investment of $450 billion would serve 8.27 million young children a year across the United States (when fully implemented) through both child care assistance and preschool. That’s 11 times more than those served without expansion. The table below includes one-year, point-in-time estimates for how many infants, toddlers, and preschoolers would be served by the combination of child care assistance and preschool programs when fully implemented in each state, with the total number compared to the number of children who would receive child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) without this expansion