FFYF Policy Framework: Full Text

Federal Support for Early Childhood Education in the New Administration and Congress

Overview

Federal support for early learning has been a historic bipartisan success story over the past eight years. The administration and Congress have acted together to expand access to high-quality early learning—particularly for the children and families who need it most—drawing on years of research showing that high-quality early education and care is one of the most effective investments government can make. The federal government’s leadership has supported and accelerated ongoing commitment by states and local communities to expand access to high-quality early learning programs—producing substantial gains for young children and families, and generating significant long-term benefits for society.

Over the coming months and years, the new administration and Congress are well-positioned to continue working together to expand access to high-quality early learning, both directly and in collaboration with states and communities. FFYF’s goal is to secure a significant expansion of high-quality early learning around the country, ensuring that every child who needs it has the choice to participate in a high-quality program. The next four years offer the chance to take steps that will make significant advances toward reaching that goal. From now until April 2017 (100 days post-inauguration) represents a particularly opportune moment to consider the future of early childhood programs and policies at the federal level by examining how they support state and community efforts. The purpose of these recommendations is to provide a framework for bipartisan policy solutions to take us from where we are to where we need to be.

These recommendations to a new administration and Congress are meant to strengthen the existing programs and harness the growing momentum toward establishing a continuum of high-quality education and care. Federal, state, and local entities have done a remarkable amount of work laying the foundation on which a new administration and Congress can build. Federal initiatives such as the Early Learning Challenge Fund (ELC); the reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG); extensions of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV); the newly reauthorized Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); and the new Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) all represent achievements that have moved our nation’s early learning agenda forward.

Read the First Five Years Fund’s full Policy Framework below.