How Did ECE Fare in the State Budget?
Release Date: July 8, 2014
The roughly $29 billion state budget for 2014-2015 broken down:
- PA Pre-K Counts, a high-quality program for at-risk preschoolers, received a $10 million increase, allowing the state to serve approximately 11% of all the 3- and 4-year-olds that qualify for Pre-K Counts (up from 7%).
- Early Intervention, a program that serves children with developmental delays or disabilities, received a $9 million increase to the portion of program for pre-k aged children. This means 1,500 more children can be served. The portion of Early Intervention that serves infants and toddlers was level-funded.
- Child Care Subsidy received a small boost in state funding, but a $15 million reallocation of federal support will remove 2,895 children from the child care subsidy (Child Care Works) waiting list.
- Nurse Family Partnership and Family Centers, two important family-support services, were level funded at last year's funding levels.
- Head Start Supplemental, which provides additional classroom seats in Head Start programs, was level-funded.
- A new $200 million “Ready to Learn” block grant for public schools could support pre-kindergarten programs and incudes the previous $100 Accountability Block Grant Program.
The fact remains that tens of thousands of Pennsylvania children do not have access to high-quality and effective pre-kindergarten, Head Start or child care services.
In addition, despite increased Early Intervention funding for children with developmental delays or disabilities, the system struggles to keep up with demand for services.
Demand is also heavy for evidence-based home visiting programs. Despite significant federal expansion for home visiting programs through the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), state-funded home visitation programs have not increased in the face of rising costs and demand.
Get in touch with your state legislators and thank them for their support while encouraging them to consider significant investments in critical early learning programs in next year's budget.