ARLINGTON, VA. -- Child Care Aware® of America joins the President in calling for Congress to adopt a comprehensive early learning agenda for America’s children.
“We share and support the President’s vision for early learning,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “His commitment to a comprehensive approach from birth through kindergarten is exactly what our nation needs."
“By focusing new investments on both preschool-age children and infants and toddlers through age 3, the President’s proposal sets a path for children to start school ready to succeed,” said Fraga.
The President’s budget, announced Wednesday, proposes $1.4 billion for new high-quality infant and toddler care through Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships. The budget also proposes $200 million in new grants to strengthen health and safety protections for children in child care and $750 million for preschool developmental grants.
“Too many children today do not have access to quality programs. State laws vary greatly, not just with regard to state preschool initiatives but also with regard to state child care programs and the training and education of the early childhood workforce,” said Fraga. “The President’s plan will challenge states and communities to do their best for children – from birth through kindergarten – so that children can do their best -- really enter school ready to succeed.”
Studies show that quality early childhood programs can make a difference in the healthy development and school readiness of children, particularly for low income children. “The quality of the workforce is directly related to a program’s quality. Clearly, this initiative will help expand the number of young children in quality programs and incentivize the workforce to become the strongest possible to promote more quality settings.”
“Learning begins at birth,” said Fraga. “It’s great to see the alignment of initiatives from our youngest children in child care and preschool to kindergarten children.”
“The national conversation about school readiness has begun. We urge families and the early childhood community to join us in helping shape the framework so that we get it right,” said Fraga. “This is a historic opportunity and we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in the weeks ahead,” said Fraga.