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Recent Developments in Early Childhood Development Policies
RESULTS has a long history of working to protect funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These programs have proven successful time and again at helping vulnerable children receive the foundation they need to succeed in school and beyond. Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor James Heckman (University of Chicago) concluded that "investing in early learning for disadvantaged children is a strong long-term investment with a rate of return of 7-10 percent per annum through better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity and reduced crime." See Prof. Heckman's illustration of this ROI (Return on Investment) below:
August 2014 Update: FY 2015 Appropriations
In June, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (L-HHS) approved an appropriations bill for FY15 that included modest increases early childhood education programs. While the amounts were far lower than the President's FY15 request, we are pleased that the subcommittee recognizes the need for increased investment in critical early childhood development programs. Key provisions include:
The bill has not made it to the full Senate Appropriations committee, and the House has not taken up FY15 L-HHS appropriations even at the subcommittee level. It is likely that Congress will pass a short-term Continuing Resolution to continue funding at the current levels in September.
TAKE ACTION: Use our online alert to ask your Members of Congress to fund these important programs at the levels proposed in the Senate L-HHS bill, at a minimum.
April 2013 Update: New Early Learning Initiative
This month, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget. In it, the president makes some aggressive and welcomed investments in early childhood programs. Here are some of the details of his proposal:
For more information about the president’s early childhood proposal, see this detailed fact sheet from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). RESULTS is joining with NWLC and others to urge people to show their thanks to President Obama for his proposal by sending thank you e-mails to him. Their hope is to deliver thousands of letters that will hopefully be used in an upcoming public event with the president. TAKE ACTION: Send President Obama a thank you note, and tell your members of Congress to follow the president’s lead by investing in our children by protecting Head Start and child care funding and invest more resources in early learning. Use our updated online e-mail alert to contact them today. We also encourage you to listen to our April national conference call to hear Roxanne Reddington-Wilde share about her experience working for community action in Boston and the impact sequestration has had on her and her agency.
January 2013 Update: Funding for Head Start and Child Care Protected... For Now
Congress included a two-month delay of sequestration, the automatic cuts to annually appropriated programs such as Head Start and child care assistance, as a part of the "Fiscal Cliff" deal. To get the strongest funding levels possible in any final House-Senate FY 2013 appropriations agreement and protect a variety of important "non-defense discretioary (NDD) programs, we must continue to Congress to make early childhood education a priority in 2013. RESULTS believes that we need a balanced approach in order to avoid sequestration, balance the budget and restore the nation’s economic stability, which must include substantial new revenue.
TAKE ACTION: Call Congress or use RESULTS’ online alert to urge Congress to protect and strengthen Head Start and child care for millions of low-income children in 2013 as a part of a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.
September 2012 Update: Congress Passes Continuing Resolution (CR), Sequestration Looms
On September 13, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution to fund annually-appropriated programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care until March 2013. This package is expected to pass the Senate shortly and will fit within the spending caps included in the Budget Control Act or BCA (rather than the House Republican Budget).
However, essential jobs and services such as early childhood programs, foreign aid, education, public health, the WIC program, and other services face additional deep cuts this January. In Washington, these programs are collectively referred to as “non-defense discretionary” or simply “NDD” programs. As a component of the BCA, on January 2, 2013 NDD programs will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent through an arcane budget tool known as "sequestration." NDD programs represent a relatively small and shrinking share of the federal budget and our overall economy — already reduced to levels not seen since President Eisenhower held office. They are not the drivers of the debt. In fact, completely eliminating all NDD programs would not balance the budget, yet NDD programs have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts. If Congress fails to create a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction and the sequestration is allowed to take effect, core services upon which Americans have come to rely will be greatly curtailed or even eliminated — approximately 100,000 children would lose Head Start and 80,000 children would lose child care as a result.
We urge those interested to join a conference call being organized by RESULTS’ allies CLASP, NWLC, and NAEYC on Thursday, September 20, at 3:00 pm ET to review the latest on federal developments that will impact early education programs and funding. You can register online for the call.
July 2012 Update: House Proposes Small Increases for Head Start and Child Care, Continuing Resolution Expected in September
In July, the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee passed their FY13 Appropriations bill. Unfortunately, while their bill saw some increases, they also were not what we had hoped (and the overall bill has many troubling provisions). Head Start/Early Head Start saw a $45.5 million increase, while CCDBG saw a $25 million increase. Congressional leaders and President Obama are working on a Continuing Resolution to fund annually appropriated programs including Head Start and child care until March 2013, beyond the Lame Duck session. This package is expected to come up in September and will fit within the spending caps included in the Budget Control Act (rather than the Ryan Budget). To get the strongest funding levels possible in any final House-Senate agreement, we must continue to push House members to make early childhood education a priority in 2013 -- which RESULTS volunteers did with hundreds of Congressional offices during International Conference lobby meetings in late July.
TAKE ACTION: Urge House and Senate leaders to protect early learning services for low-income children. Use our online email alert to tell Congress to fund Head Start, Early Head Start and child care assistance at the highest possible levels in FY 2013.
June 2012 Update: Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Bill with Some Funding Increases for Child Care and Head Start
On June 13 the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved their FY 2013 spending proposal. As a part of our Early Childhood Development Campaign: Smart Investments in the Early Years, RESULTS has pushed for increased investments in early childhood programs. As of now:
The Senate proposal includes $8.039 billion, a $70 million increase, for Head Start and $2.4 billion, a $160 million increase, for CCDBG. While these levels fall short of our funding requests, it is a good sign that a bill with limited funding increases prioritized early childhood programs for increases.
TAKE ACTION: Tailor our online alert to urge Congress to protect and strengthen Head Start and child care for millions of low-income children in the U.S. We continue to support a:
Be sure to check out our new campaign to "Put Child Care on the Map” - and let’s get child care on the radar screens for policymakers (and on this map!) And need inspiration before you take action? Watch this: “Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything”.
May 2012 Update: Put Child Care on the Map!
RESULTS, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Early Care and Education Consortium have launched a new long-term campaign to "Put Child Care on the Map". Access to quality early childhood development programs is central to any effort in order to break the cycle of poverty. We need you to help members of Congress understand the importance of child care and why we need their support.
TAKE ACTION: Take action to Put Child Care on the Map by attending a town hall meeting or candidate appearance and ask a question about child care when they’re talking about jobs or education or families. You can also help Put Child Care on the Map by:
And after you’ve put child care on the map for your member of Congress, put it on our map! Let us know how you put child care on the map for your senators and representative, and we’ll post it on this map to highlight the efforts going on around the country!
We’d love it if you let us know what actions you plan on taking in your community, answer questions offer need support? Email Meredith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Watch for email alerts for updates and more ways you can take action to put child care on the map!
April 2012 Update: Build a Broader and Stronger Movement for Early Childhood Development
This year, RESULTS Global and U.S. Poverty Groups are joining the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week for Education, April 22-28. This year’s Global Action Week theme, “Rights from the Start! Early Child Care and Education NOW!”, focuses on the importance of quality early childhood development services for children around the world. Building on our successful work to build support in Congress for early childhood development, with 120 members of Congress signing on to letters supporting Head Start and child care funding (see below), this month we will focus on engaging and mobilizing others in our communities by participating in Global Action Week. We are raising awareness about the importance of investments in early childhood programs such as Head Start and funding for child care and expand our community network, by hosting outreach events and connecting with important “grasstops” during Global Action Week. TAKE ACTION: Use our April Action and Global Action Week resource page to build a broader and stronger movement for early childhood development programs.
March 2012 Update: 120 Members of Congress Sign on to Letters Supporting Head Start and Child Care
Congress is now beginning work on the FY 2013 budget and we again have our work cut out for us. House Republicans are proposing deep cuts to domestic discretionary programs, despite agreed upon funding levels in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA). We need to once again remind lawmakers that investing in early learning services in an investment in our future.
Fortunately, RESULTS volunteers have been taking action to ensure that the gains each of these programs have made are continued and expanded through increased funding at the Appropriations level by building support for bipartisan "Dear Colleague" letters in the House and the Senate. RESULTS volunteers were instrumental in making these letters bipartisan, as well as encouraging their members of Congress to sign. Each letter asked for increased funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The House letter was circulated by Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI-5) and Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA-19). RESULTS volunteers around the country and other advocates helped generate 88 signatures on that letter, which was sent to House Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chair Denny Rehberg (R-MT-AL) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) on March 20. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Olympia Showe (R-ME) circulated a bipartisan "Dear Colleague" letter to Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) on March 29, with a total 32 senators urging support for robust funding for Head Start and child care services in the FY 2013 budget. We are proud of the work that our volunteers accomplished and it will help demonstrate strong support in Congress for investments in early childhood development.
On February 13, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget proposal. In it, President Obama lays out his budget priorities for the next year (the fiscal year begins on October 1). Here are some of the highlights related to RESULTS’ early childhood priorities:
TAKE ACTION: Take the February Action. Request a face-to-face meeting with House and Senate members when they are home. Contact their schedulers now to get a jump on this month’s action. Find scheduler and staff names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. Here is a script you can use when calling them:
Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end hunger and poverty. RESULTS has a proven track record of working with legislators from all backgrounds to support smart and cost-effective policies to break the cycle of poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. _________________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with Rep./Sen.______________ while he/she is still home this month. Would it be possible to set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss tax policies that break the cycle of poverty and investments in early childhood development programs. What times would he be available to meet?
The February Action also has tips on scheduling a meeting, as well as talking points for each of our major issues. Also see our Laser Talk for a sample conversation with a scheduler to set up a meeting and/or use our online email tool to contact them. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s).
In addition, the release of the President’s Budget is getting a lot of press coverage. This is a great opportunity to use the budget release as a “hook” to get letters to the editor printed. Send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress invest in early childhood development programs.
December 2011 Update: Ending the Year with a Victory — Head Start and Child Care Funding Increased
Congress seems to love the drama. With only hours remaining before a government shutdown on December 16, House and Senate negotiators finalized an “omnibus” spending bill to keep the government running through next September (the end of FY 2012). And there is very good news for advocates supporting Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) — each of these programs will see a small increase in funding in FY 2012 so as to protect existing services. Head Start/Early Head Start will see an increase of $409 million over last year, taking its total allotment to almost $8 billion. This is almost $60 million more than what the Senate proposed back in September (but $141 million lower than the House proposal). This will ensure that all of the current slots available for low-income children are maintained, even those created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition, CCDBG will see an increase of $55 million total allotment of $2.3 billion for FY 2012. This was a welcomed surprise as both the House and Senate had previously proposed no funding increase for CCDBG. The House passed the measure 296-121 and the Senate 67-32.
The Head Start and child care funding levels are a victory for RESULTS volunteers and early childhood advocates around the country. Remember that only 8 months ago, Congress was planning massive cuts to Head Start and child care as part of the FY 2011 budget. We then faced the same prospect in the FY 2012 budget. But again you responded – in total, with at least 50 face-to-face lobby meetings, calls, letters, e-mails, and at least 55 print media pieces and those cuts were dropped. Your hard work and dedication has once again paid off — Head Start and child care are again protected for another year.
That does not mean we won’t face challenges in 2012. The Budget Control Act continues to eat away at discretionary spending putting more pressure on these important programs. We are also going into an election year where politicians will use every opportunity to demonize government spending, no matter how smart and effective it is. Therefore, we have much work ahead of us.
But that can wait for now. Today we can savor this victory for low-income families. Millions of children will get the educational and social foundations they need for success because of the work you have done this year. Millions of parents will go to work with the peace of mind that their children are safe because of the work you have done this year. You have every reason to feel proud. Congratulations to you all!
TAKE ACTION: If you have not already, take the December Action and thank Congress for supporting Head Start and child care in the FY 2012 budget. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper telling readers of the importance of early childhood funding for low-income families and thanking Congress for continuing these investments for the next year. If you representative and senators voted for the FY 2012 budget bill, be sure to thank them by name in your letter. You can use our updated online LTE action to send letters to your local papers.
November 2011 Update: House and Senate Propose Increases for Head Start While Maintaining Child Care Funding, 2012 Levels Hang in the Balance
RESULTS continues to advocate for investments in early childhood development in this tough budget environment, and with success. In September, both the House and Senate began work on their FY 2012 Head Start and child care funding proposals. Fortunately, their proposals recognize the value of these important services. The Senate proposed increasing Head Start/Early Head Start funding by $340 million in FY 2012, which will maintain current enrollment. The House went further with a proposed $540 million increase. As for CCDBG, both chambers proposed maintaining the 2011 funding levels, which will still provide 1.6 million children and their working parents access to affordable child care. These funding levels are encouraging but not guaranteed. There are still many members of Congress who would like to see these services cut dramatically in the final 2012 budget. And, with Congress considering policies to reduce the federal budget deficit dramatically in the coming years, Head Start and child care funding could face deep cuts beyond 2012. With your support we continue to tell Congress that America’s children are our most important investment.
Congress has until November 18 to finish the FY 2012 budget. The Senate is trying to pass a series of bills that would combine various appropriations bills, it is unknown if Congress will make its deadline. Some members are contemplating a much longer continuing resolution, which could freeze funding at current levels for a year. This could result in cuts to services despite both House and Senate leaders supporting increases in Head Start funding in the FY 2012 Labor-HHS proposals (Senate: $340 million increase for Head Start; House: $540 million increase; both maintain current funding for child care).
TAKE ACTION: RESULTS urges Congress to finish the budget and fund Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) at the highest levels possible (certainly no less than the Senate’s Labor-HHS bill). Use our updated Outreach Action Sheet or our online e-mail action to contact your members of Congress. Remind them that 222 business leaders from 34 states sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner supporting early childhood development funding, including Head Start and child care. Also, consider organizing a site visit for your own members of Congress to see these programs firsthand during an upcoming congressional recess. Use the resources from our recent Site Visit training call to help set up these visits. Contact Meredith Dodson for support or if you have questions.
September 2011 Update: Following Up with Senate Offices on FY 2012 Funding for Head Start and Child Care
Given how quickly the Senate may move to mark up the spending bill that funds Head Start and child care, we suggest each RESULTS group coordinate so that one member talks directly to the aide who handles funding for early childhood development programs in Washington ASAP. Our September Action Sheet includes talking points to generate additional letters, e-mails and phone calls to Senate offices. To find contact information for congressional offices and the name of the early childhood aide, visit our Elected Officials page (http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/).
August 2011 Update: Risk of Program Cuts in FY2012
On Tuesday August 2, 2011, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed and signed into law. Essentially, this piece of legislation raises the debt ceiling while at the same time outlining procedures for reducing the deficit. For a more detailed outlining of what the Budget Control Act does, refer the August 2 weekly update. Debt ceiling and deficit reduction negotiations were taking place for weeks before the final piece of legislation was passed on both the House and the Senate. During these weeks of negotiation, RESULTS, coalition partners, and individuals around the nation fought to ensure the protection of important early childhood development programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start , and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), as well as other key services for low-income families
Unfortunately, not all of these programs are protected in the new Budget Control Act. The first round of cuts will reduce federal spending by $1 trillion; discretionary spending cuts threaten Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG, though the overall level of cuts to domestic spending are not as severe as was included in the House-passed Ryan budget this spring. Additionally, there will be a second round of cuts as part of deficit reduction. A joint committee will attempt to create another $1.2 worth of deficit reduction, and they will be able to use both revenues and spending cuts to achieve this. Again, early childhood development programs are at risk of even deeper cuts at this stage of deficit reduction. If the committee does not come up with $1.2 in reduction an automatic, across-the-board cuts will go into effect. Head Start and Early Head Start are not exempt from these across-the-board cuts either. Visit the National Women’s Law Center for a more in-depth overview of the Budget Control Act and what programs will be affected.
TAKE ACTION: Take the August Action. Schedule a time to meet with members of Congress in person to discuss our funding Head Start and child care programs, as well as attend public appearances and town halls. Tell them to talk to House and Senate Labor-HHS appropriators urging them to fund these programs at levels that maintain existing services ($8.1 billion total allotment for Head Start/Early Head Start, $1.2 billion increase for CCDBG in FY 2012).
May 2011 Update: Pushing for Adequate Investments for 2012
The next few weeks will provide us great opportunities to push members of Congress for Head Start, Early Head Start , and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding. The House will be on recess (May 16–22), followed by the Senate next week (May 23–29), and then the House again the following week (May 30–June 5). This is a great opportunity to meet with members of Congress either face-to-face meetings or town halls. As we have seen the last few months, these meetings can make a difference. After the House passed its FY 2012 budget in mid-April, members got an earful from constituents about their displeasure with its cuts to important programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s use this opportunity to urge House and Senate members to put early learning first. This could not come at a more important time.
This month, the House Appropriations Committee released its target budgets for each of the Appropriations subcommittees. Remember that Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG all get their funding from the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. The news is not good. Compared to the recently passed FY 2011 budget, Labor-HHS programs will see $18 billion in cuts in FY 2012. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has looked at the numbers and concludes that the cuts really amount to $25 billion for Labor-HHS compared to 2011. What this all means is that Head Start and child care face a much bigger threat of funding cuts in 2012 than they did in 2011. Some members of Congress are pushing for funding for Head Start and child care — on May 20, 62 representatives sent a letter urging the House Labor-HHS subcommittee to allocate $1.2 billion in new funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and a total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2012. These levels will sustain effective, high-quality services for at-risk, low-income children and their families across the nation.
TAKE ACTION: Meet with members of Congress back home by setting up face-to-face meetings or attending a local town hall event and asking a question. We want them to ensure a smarter, healthier, and more productive America by supporting Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG. Specifically, urge representatives and senators to speak with Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee members urging support to allocate $1.2 billion in new funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and a total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2012. Use the April Action sheet and April 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk for talking points and background. If you cannot get a meeting, use our online e-mail action to contact Congress about early learning funding. Be sure to personalize the message (including the subject line) to make it more effective.Also see our updated 2011 Campaign Summary for the latest on our 2011 campaigns.
April 2011 Update: Head Start and Child Care Largely Protected in 2011 Spending Deal
Early childhood programs have been on a rollercoaster ride as of late. In 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Congress increased funding for Head Start/Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $2 billion each. In 2009 and 2010, these increases helped open up 7,000 Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms, as well as provide 200,000 low-income children child care while their parents worked. In 2011, however, the House of Representatives has sought to undermine these gains by targeting Head Start and child care for deep cuts. Fortunately, RESULTS volunteers, along with our allies, were able to stave off most of these cuts in the recently-passed FY 2011 budget. In that budget, Head Start/ Early Head Start will see a $340 million increase in funding, ensuring that current enrollment is maintained. CCDBG will receive a $100 million increase, while will preserve some but not all the slots created under ARRA. Because of these investments, thousands of children and their parents will not lose these critical services in 2011. However, this reprieve could be short lived. The House’s FY 2012 budget proposes slashing domestic programs as a misguided and failed attempt to balance the budget. Without a sustained effort to push back against these reckless and devastating cuts, they could become reality. We need to put a local face on these programs so that members of Congress think twice before turning their backs on low-income children.