Bennet-Isakson Amendment Passes to Promote Integration of Early Childhood Education Funding

Last night, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) succeeded in passing a bipartisan amendment to the Child Care Development Block Grant Act to help states coordinate federal and state funding streams to support early childhood education and care.  The amendment will help state’s identify where funding streams can better complement each other and thereby promote a more coordinated and integrated system of early learning programs. It was cosponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

“Early childhood education is essential to a child’s future,” Bennet said. “Early learning programs are proven to increase kindergarten readiness and to provide students with the early skills they need to succeed later in school and in life. This amendment will help promote better coordination between federal and state funding sources in order to ensure that low-income children and families can access these vital education and care programs.”

“Georgia has one of the finest pre-K programs in the nation, due in large part to our efficient system of combining federal and state funding streams to support early childhood education and care,” said Isakson.  “I’m pleased the Senate voted to adopt a measure that would provide guidance and disseminate information to states regarding ways to effectively blend federal and state early childhood education funds such as Georgia has done. This would enhance both access and quality of existing programs.”

The amendment will also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide guidance and information on best practices regarding the use of funding combined by states.  The Child Care Development Block Grant Act provides funding for childcare for low income families, allowing parents to work or attend school and ensuring that children have access to early childhood education.