The FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill includes some significant increases for early learning. Here are some of the highlights:
Head Start received an increase of $1.025 billion to restore the funding cut by the sequester and provide programs with a cost-of-living increase. Of the increase, $500 million is set aside for new Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. Early Head Start partnership funding will be available to every state and programs would compete for the funding within the state. These grants allow new or existing Early Head Start programs to partner with local child care centers and family child care providers serving low-income infants and toddlers.
Child Care and Development Block Grant received a $154 million increase. CCDBG continues to have set-asides for after-school and resource and referral activities, a national toll-free hotline, quality improvement activities, infant/toddler care, and research
A new initiative for preschool development grants received $250 million in funding. The funding will be awarded competitively to states to build their capacity to develop, enhance, or expand high-quality preschool programs, including comprehensive services and family engagement, for preschool-age children from families at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The bill passed the House and Senate late last week and President Obama signed it over the weekend.