DEC in collaboration with CEC announces its campaign for support of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act and increased funding for Early Childhood IDEA programs today.
Increasing access to and opportunities for high-quality early learning is one of the best investments our country can make and has broad bipartisan support:
- 71% agree that now is the time to make an increased investment in our nation’s young children and their families (First Five Years Fund poll, 2014).
- 85% believe that ensuring children get a strong start is important, second only to increasing job and economic growth (First Five Years Fund poll, 2014).
- It has been estimated that the return on investment (ROI) on early childhood learning is about 17%—almost three times the mean ROI within the stock market (Jenkins, p. 148, Economic Development Quarterly, May 2014).
The Strong Start for America's Children Act is a bold, 10-year innovative federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth-to-age-five continuum. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act provides:
- Access to Preschool for 4-Year Olds
- Early Learning Quality Partnerships
- Child Care
- Home Visitation
It is also critical from an economic standpoint that adequate funding of IDEA Part C (infants and toddlers) and Part B, Section 619 (preschool) programs is necessary because these programs can significantly reduce the number of children needing special education during their formal school years, thereby increasing ROI. Since passage of these programs in 1986, research has continually demonstrated the importance and cost-effectiveness of providing specialized developmental and educational supports and services to young children and their families. Yet despite significant increases in the number of children receiving services in these programs,
- federal funding per child under Part C has decreased by 34%, and
- federal funding per child under Part B, Section 619 has decreased by 41% (figures from CEC, Federal Outlook for Exceptional Children in FY 2015, 2014).
Time to TAKE ACTION! We are asking for members to support the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (S.1697/H.R. 3461) and to support a 5% set-aside of this bill’s authorized funding levels for each of IDEA’s early childhood programs. In addition, support increased funding for IDEA Part C and Section 619. Go to CEC’s Legislative Action center and write to your Senators and Representative TODAY!