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U.S. Federal Budget Announcements Demonstrate Support for Early Learning

Apr 16, 2024    |   National ECE News Updates

The recently approved federal budget appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2024 included positive news for families, children, and early childhood care & learning providers. The appropriations bill increases federal funding for early care and learning by $1 billion compared to fiscal year 2023.

  • $8.7 billion was appropriated for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), representing an increase of $725 million in discretionary funds,
  • $12.27 billion was provided for Head Start, a $275 million increase over last year.

This funding increase follows the Biden Administration’s February announcement of a Department of Health and Human Services final ruling on state implementation of the Child Care & Development Block Grant program. The rule strengthens CCDBG  by reducing costs for families and improving the payment process for participating child care & learning providers. Specifically, the rule:

  • Caps co-payments for families participating in CCDBG to no more than 7% of income, saving families in states that do not yet cap co-payments an average of more than $200 a month;
  • Encourages states to eliminate co-payments entirely for families of children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, children in Head Start, and families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level;
  • Directs states to pay CCDBG providers more fairly, and on-time, to help stabilize operations for participating providers; and ensures that providers are paid based on program enrollment rather than attendance.
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