In the shadow of the pandemic, there is positive and welcome progress in federal investments in child care.
One example of this positive trend is the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (also known as the omnibus bill) that President Biden signed into law at the end of last year.
“The appropriation for fiscal year (FY) 2023 included more than $8 billion in total annual discretionary funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in addition to increases for other important child care and early education programs such as Head Start,” the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) explains.
“The FY 2023 CCDBG appropriation of $8 billion represented a $1.9 billion increase above the previous year’s funding, a 30 percent increase. This is the second largest increase in discretionary funding in the history of CCDBG—following the $2.4 billion increase in FY 2018.”
Specifically, this funding helps low-income families who would otherwise struggle to afford child care.
“The increases in 2023 for each state range from $2 million in Vermont to $209 million in Texas.”
Massachusetts can expect to see an increase from a grant of $75.6 million last year to $98.9 million this year.
It’s good news, but it comes with an important warning from CLASP about how vital it is to provide ongoing support for early childhood programs given the country’s current economic vulnerabilities:
“As concerns about economic recovery, unemployment, and inflation continue—and with federal funding provided through the American Rescue Plan act set to expire at the end of the next fiscal year (September 2024)—significant and sustained increases in annual discretionary funding remain a critical support. And, given the fragile nature of the child care sector, due to decades of insufficient federal funding, the need for long-term and sustainable increases for child care remains ever present.”
So please thank federal policymakers for what they’ve done – and point out that children and families need this support to continue and grow.